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Chinese Culture: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in China? Come and learn about important pieces of Chinese culture, including their values, traditions, arts and delicious cuisine.

Chinese Values

Everyone has a set of values, which are what you believe is important in life. While your values might be different than someone else's, many people hold their values near and dear to their hearts. Countries have values, as well. For example, the United States values freedom and independence. After all, these are the values that the country was founded on. China has values that are heavily influenced by the rich religious culture that has developed there.

One of the most apparent values in China is courtesy, which is the act of being respectful to others and to the law. Another important Chinese value is harmony, which is getting along with others and maintaining balance within society and nature. Benevolence is another Chinese value, which stresses the importance of being loyal to your family.

Chinese Customs & Traditions

Did you know that there is a holiday called Chinese New Year? Chinese New Year is based on the Ancient Chinese calendar, which is completely different than the calendar you are used to. For instance, instead of becoming a numerical year (like 2016), their new years were marked by one of the twelve animals from the zodiac, like the pig, tiger or dragon. The Chinese New Year is celebrated for about a month with fireworks, big family feasts and extravagant parades.

Another Chinese tradition is the emphasis on numbers, also known as numerology. In China, numbers mean a lot more than just math. Many Chinese people credit any good luck or fortune they've had with lucky numbers. In fact, they will even make decisions, like their wedding date or telephones, by whether or not it involves a lucky number. For example, the number eight is one of the luckiest numbers, so many Chinese people will choose to live in an apartment on the eighth floor. On the other hand, the number four sounds like the Chinese word for death, so the number four is avoided whenever possible.

Dragon costumes are common in Chinese New Year parades
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Chinese Arts & Music

As harmony is one of the core values in China, it should come as no surprise that harmony and balance are common themes in Chinese art. It can be seen in sculpture, pottery and painting, like the swirling brush strokes that illustrate the balance within nature or the harmony between old and new techniques. Music is another important piece of Chinese culture, with ancient instruments like the xun (similar to a flute) and the guqin (similar to a harp).

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