A Short History of Beijing
Beijing is a glamorous city with a long history of more than 2,900 years. As China's political, cultural and educational center, Beijing is a rapidly developing metropolis longing for various exchanges with other countries in this increasingly globalizing world. Beijing is a hub of Chinese civilization and culture and boasts 7300 cultural relics and historic sites and more than 200 scenic spots. Traversing for several kilometers on lofty and rugged mountain ranges, the Great Wall is the only man-made structure that can be seen in the outer space. Noted for its undisturbed tranquility, the Summer Palace is a classic representative of royal gardens and summer retreats. Situated at the city's heart, the Forbidden City is a fine embodiment of China's long history and vibrant culture. Beijing is also well-known for its labyrinthine hutongs and square courtyards, which have become an integral part of this city after hundreds of years. This city has become a cultural monument with great vitality, encompassing great past glories and modern progress in economics, social systems, science and technology. Beijing also takes great pride in its cultural heritage and environment. Through adopting a strategy of sustainable development, this ancient city will display a brand-new image to the world. August and September mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn in Beijing, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius. This September and October is the best season to visit, with clear, blue skies allowing visitors to fully witness the charm and vastness of the city.
Chinese Culture and Customs
Spring Festival is the first day of Chinese lunar new year. It is the most important, most featured and grandest traditional festival, and it has a history of over 4000 years. People eat dumplings, set off fireworks and pay visits to relatives and friends during Spring Festival. Due to the difference between Chinese lunar year and the common calendar year, Spring Festival normally takes place in January or February.
Tomb Sweeping day is one of the most important sacrifice days, and it is the day when people sweep tombs and offer sacrifices to ancestors. Tomb Sweeping day is normally in early April. In this season spring returns and the world is full of vigor, therefore people also go out to enjoy the beautiful scenery on Tomb Sweeping day.
Dragon Boat Festival is on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar year (in late June of the calendar year), and it has a history of over 2000 years. People eat rice dumplings and hold dragon-boat racing on this day.
Mid-autumn Festival is on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar year, and it is the second grandest traditional festival in China. People eat moon cakes and enjoy the beauty of the full moon during the Mid-autumn Festival.
Offering Food and Other Things
Chinese people are not accustomed to opening gifts on spot when they receive gifts. Usually they would accept the gift and say “thank you” politely, but it does not mean that he/she does not love your gift.
In China, people would insist on the guest taking more food several times and then make sure that the guest indeed has had enough. This is different from other Western cultures.
Appellation is the way of addressing the targeted person politely. In Chinese schools, “laoshi (老师)” is a polite appellation. Professors and administrative officers are all addressed as “XX laoshi (老师)”, for instance, “Li laoshi (李老师)”, “Sun laoshi (孙老师)”, etc. It is not polite to address people with their full name.
Host a Dinner V.S. Go Dutch
Chinese people are warmhearted and hospitable. They love to invite their friends to dinner in restaurants. As a matter of fact, what people care about is not the delicious food but the fun of friends gathering together.
To host a dinner is another way of establishing and deepening friendship. People take turns to host dinners. It is considered impolite to be always invited to dinner and never host a dinner. Sometimes it happens in restaurants that people fall over each other to pay the bill. They seem to be fighting, but that is not a real fight.
In China, to go Dutch is not popular. Young people accept such way of payment. If you invite Chinese friends to dinner, you’d better confirm with your friends beforehand whether it is your treat or you will go Dutch with each other.