Tomb Sweeping Festival


China is currently having a three-day public holiday and 4th April is the Qingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Festival. Chinese communities across Asia visit the graves of their families to pay respects and this begins with a thorough cleaning, hence the name.

The BBC News website has some images from the ritual.

It is traditional to burn representations of things the deceased may need in the afterlife, such as paper money. Over time these have become much more elaborate and you can buy paper houses, paper furniture and paper phones. In this image, a relative is burning a paper iPad, iPod Nano and iPhone for their relative to use in heaven.


Fierce Dragon on Stamp Stirs Debate

Dragon Stamp


“The new Year of the Dragon stamps issued by China Post “have sparked a heated debate on the Internet as some users say the dragon looks too fierce and sinister, which goes against the traditional auspicious meaning of dragons in China”. Designer Chen Shaohua, however, has defended the image claiming that “…dragons’ main responsibilities in ancient times were to ward off evil, avoid disaster and to bring good luck” and should, therefore, look fierce. “

(Story via Design China)

My Chinese Paper Craft: New Year Animals

These are a few examples of some of my experiments with Chinese craft. Hope you enjoy.

Food traditions in china

Food traditions in china

Households in rural china are known to thrive on growing as much of their own food as possible; this allows them to spend very little money on food. This low food expenditure suggests high poverty rates, however china’s rural population are generally not malnourished. Their diet mainly consists of rice, wheat flour, other grains and vegetables, with a low protein intake; through this most of their nutritional needs are met. Spend very little on food, allows families to save their money for the more important things in life: like school fees, household construction and other goods or services they may need.

Chinese people have many different eating traditions. Table manners are seen as a very important part of daily life, it is said that if you have good table manners it will add to the enjoyment of your meal and keep everyone in good spirits. Hosts in china are all friendly and hospitable. However, you must show them respect. Some may offer words of greeting to visitors before you eat and it is not till they have finished and say “please enjoy” or words similar you can tuck into your food, failure to do so shows major disrespect and is offensive to the host. The elders in a family are looked upon with great respect; they are seen as wise/intelligent people. As a show of respect it is tradition to present the senior members of the family with the best and finest foods first, this what is expected and has been going on for many generations. As shown in the photo hosts place the main dish in the center and arrange the side dishes evenly around it creating a circle. If dishes are prepared in a decorative form they will be presented facing the guest and elders, as a final act of respect.

As everyone knows china is the hometown of chopsticks but china were not the only ones to take up this tradition, they were also introduced in Vietnam, North Korea, and South Korea. It is said that the invention of chopsticks shows the wisdom of the Chinese, creating the simplest design of two sticks able to do so much to and with food. Nowadays it is a strong belief that chopsticks bring good luck to peoples lives, so are given as wedding presents and gifts. Chopsticks have developed over the years, starting off 5000 years ago as a two twigs picked off the ground and developing into two tapered sticks of equal lengths coming in all kinds of materials like bamboo, plastic, metal, bone, ivory, and gold. With allsorts of patterns engraved or printed onto them.

There are many rules regarding the correct way to use chopsticks. These must be obeyed or you could come across as having bad manners and can be seen as being very disrespectful.

  1. Firstly, it is considered begger like to hit the side of your bowl or plate with your chopstick because Chinese people think you would only do that when you are begging for food.
  2.  Secondly, it is seen as a kind of accusation to others if you where to stretch out your index finger while eating or point your chopsticks at another, at the table.
  3. Thirdly, it is seen bad manners to suck the end of a chopstick; this implies you haven’t been brought up properly, so puts shame on your family.
  4. And lastly, do not insert a chopstick vertically into the food. This is only done when burning incense to sacrifice the dead. So is a sign of major disrespect.

As you can see food is a very important part of Chinese heritage. There are many different traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, that Chinese people just see as a way of life but others looking in, might deem unnecessary. Their relationship with food is very important part of their life and people from around the world should look into this culture and try new things. Then people might even start up their own traditions to pass down the generations.