When it comes to delving into a country’s history, there are many ways to go about it. First and foremost, visiting historical sites serve as a pathway to the past. It would give travelers and tourists real insight as to what events have shaped the nation to be what it is today. In doing so, they travel back, empathize, and connect with these occurrences. Dating back up to 4,000 years ago, China is recognized as one of the four great ancient civilizations across the globe.
Many important monuments that were built in the past are still standing today, and these are prime examples of the Chinese people’s practical capabilities. Many of these monuments are open to the public and can still be visited today. Some of which include the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, and many more. Some of these structures are more than thousands of years old.
Another way is through immersing oneself in their culture. China is a country with an incredible culture, one that is diverse and unique even in different provinces. A cultural experience in China could simply be eating and drinking. Usually, Westerners tend to order dishes individually per person, while the Chinese order food dish by dish to be shared by all who are at the table. Eating becomes a communal activity as everyone eats together. Also, when eating in a Chinese person’s home, the host would usually place food into their guests’ bowl as a sign of hospitality and generosity.
Another way to experience China’s rich culture would be to engage in their popular sports and activities. Why not observe or even learn Kung Fu or Chinese martial arts? Kung fu is known to be one of China’s longest lasting sports and is a combination of both the mind and the muscle. It is more holistic than its Western counterparts of boxing or self defense as Kung Fu involves a good deal of internal discipline and external technique. The Chinese believe in the theory of this martial arts, which was based on Chinese philosophy and is a combination of self defense and health keeping techniques. Based on this theory, there is an internal and external version.
Internal Kung Fu involves training your spirit, mind, and qi. Meanwhile, external Kung Fu involves training your muscles, bones, and skin. To the Chinese, this is important because when your external body weakens, your internal kung fu can be continued later in life.
Lastly, Chinese culture can also be understood through the importance and usage of Chinese tea. Not only did it contribute to economic development and stability, it also became a practice in daily life. China’s tea culture is closely related to Chinese culture and is said to bring the spirit and wisdom of an individual to a higher level. Through tea culture, simply drinking tea is different from tasting it. Drinking tea is simply done to fulfill one’s thirst, while tasting tea is considered a form of art. The tea’s quality is judged based color, fragrance, color, quality of water, and even the tea set.
There is also tea art, which is known amongst the Chinese when one pays close attention to their surroundings, atmosphere, and music. This is done so one can focus better and concentrate. Finally, the last tradition for tea is called tea lore. Philosophical, ethical, and moral thinking is blended in the art of tea drinking. Through this people’s minds and morality become more enhanced and they reach a higher level of understanding.
With a head start on understanding China’s culture, visiting its historical sites, appreciating traditions, and respecting their sports, it is only the beginning of your journey to become a part of it as well.