Local traditions and culture in Beijing

  • Eating and Drinking
    by blueskyjohn
  • Eating and Drinking
    by blueskyjohn
  • Eating and Drinking
    by blueskyjohn

Most Viewed Local Customs in Beijing

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    Chinese Tea Ceremony

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 13, 2013

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    This latest trip was the first time I had the opportunity to experience a tea ceremony. The procedure an basically the same for all types of tea with the exception of temperature to heat the water. Some teas need to steep at a lower temperature than others. Length of time may also vary. Traditionally, Oolong tea is used in the ceremony.

    You should never handle the tea and only use wood or bamboo dispenser. The tea leaves are placed into a small teapot. An important note here is that traditionally separate teapot is used for each different tea. The small teapot is made of clay. The best being Yixing clay pots. Once the water is at the correct temperature it is poured into the clay teapot and steeped for 10 to 30 sec. The remaining water is used to pour into the tea cups to regulate the temperature of the cup and over the clay teapot to bring the outside and inside temperature closer together. This first steep is not meant to drink. After this steep, the tea is poured into the tea cups and the remaining tea is poured over the tea pot. The clay absorbs the tea and eventually gets "seasoned." This is why there is a separate tea pot for each kind of tea.

    The second steep is for drinking. Oolong tea does not need to steep long. However, with each additional pour, 10 to 30 seconds is added to the steep time to keep the taste even.

    The tea ceremony is wonderful to watch and is a great tradition.

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    Matchmaking

    by JessieLang Written Oct 14, 2012

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    In the park that adjoins the Temple of Heaven, parents who think their kid isn’t trying hard enough to marry come to one specific area with pictures, resumes, etc. There were a lot of people here, and there seemed to be some conversations going on. I have no information on what those children think about the idea.

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    AVOID BREATHING BAD POLUTION WEAR A FACEMASK

    by DennyP Updated Feb 5, 2012

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    BEIJING
    To avoid the bad polution that you will find in China especially in Beijing wear a particle mask. Do what the locals do and wear a face mask. I carried some after my trip through Vietnam..The first time I admit was a real wake up call as to the huge amounts of polution here in Asia. I realised that it wasn't fog that was about but extreme polution. I especially had a difficult time with the chronic bad air in Beijing and used the facemasks a lot..The locals seem to also use these masks everywhere.
    This is particularly difficult for persons travelling that suffer from breathing related problems..ie: Asthma , Bronchial problems as these particle polutants can trigger an asthma attack anytime. Anyone travelling to China with an asthsmatic or bronchial problem and needing to ues inhalers...Make sure that you carry more than normal..I personally had to cut my visit shorter than what I wanted due to a chest infection. Most markets and supermarkets sell these masks ..They are a very popular item and easy to find even street traders sell them/..Always handy to carry some..
    Carry extra inhalers (if you are a user)and eye drops when travelling here

    SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARTICLE FACEMASKS DO WHAT THE LOCALS DO AND WEAR A FACE MASK
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    Meeting people

    by Winkie Written Apr 25, 2010

    My best tip is to smile, make an effort to learn some Chinese with the locals' help, and let others laugh at you. Most people there are intrigued by Westerners anyway, but a sense of humor will take you a long way.

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    Different ways of exercising

    by marielexoteria Updated Dec 1, 2009

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    The pictures show 2 things that Chinese people use to exercise their bodies and minds and then one thing that I saw one person do but I'm not sure if more people do it as well.

    Pictures 1-3: while walking to find a place to eat, I found these women dancing. I have no idea what the dance is called but they were so good and the music was so festive that I couldn't help but take their picture. This was at the parking lot of one of the malls on Xinjiekou Nandajie.

    Picture 4: this man was trying to keep a dreidel turning with 2 strings. Whenever the dreidel was spinning, it was making a weird (to me) sound. The picture was taken at Temple of Heaven park.

    Picture 5: this woman was pedaling a child size tricycle of the sort. She was to change direction as another woman walking behind her would clap, and with each clap she would turn left or right. She was sitting on the tricycle in the opposite way a child would and I think she was working on her balance, hearing and coordination. The picture was also taken at Temple of Heaven park.

    The dancers going back... ...and forth The musicians Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel... Put your pedal to the medal
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    Chinese Boxer Shorts

    by machomikemd Written May 24, 2009

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    Nuff Said! as everyone knows, we had lost luggage so we are forced to buy stuff and I bought these chinese boxer shorts at a chinese 7-11 convenience store for 15 RMB a pair and what can I say, they are quite comfortable to wear and really light. Again just get it and buy but look at the sizes first as they have very small sizes here.

    very comfortable
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    Chinese Deodorant

    by machomikemd Written May 24, 2009

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    Again very useful and very cheap! it only costs 10 RMB at 24 hour convenience stores around Beijing (we bought ours at 7-11) and again due to the language barrier, just point it and pay it at counter. Like what I've said, having our baggages lost by the airline is such a hassle that you are forced to buy these stuff again hehehe. Good thing We had our baggages found and delivered pronto to our hotel after midnight.

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    Chinese Tooth Paste

    by machomikemd Written May 24, 2009

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    very cheap at 10 RMB a 150 ml pack and is available at chinese convenience stores outside (just point it since they hardly understand english), useful to buy if you forgot to pack a toothpaste in your luggage or if your airline lost you luggage on your first night (like what happened to us hehehe) that is why we are forced to buy this and other stuff. (our bags arrived just after midnight at the hotel).

    toothpaste anyone
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    Eat Jian Bing in Beijing! You must!

    by crewrower Written Jul 8, 2008

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    Make sure to try a "jian bing", which is a Chinese ommelette. You see them being made through the city, especially in alleys. The tell tale sign is a circular stove (like a smooth hot plate). The jian bing is made by first covering the stove with batter (like pancake mix), then an egg or two is added, then hot sauce, duck sauce, and a fried fritter, some onion leaves, and then it's wrapped up and put into a think plastic bag for consumption. And it costs RMB2.5. Not very healthy, but sooo delicious. I live in Shanghai and my mouth is watering just thinking of jian bing. Beijing has the best ones in the whole country, except for maybe Tianjin.

    mmmm, Jian Bing...

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    BEIJING ACROBATS

    by ancient_traveler Written Apr 5, 2008

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    Beijing Acrobat is one entertainment that must not be missed by the young and old on a visit to Beijing.
    In Beijing one can see breath-holding acrobatics, some of which can be so demanding in the timing and balancing skill as to verge on the impossible

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    Balaustrada / Baluster

    by elpariente Written Mar 23, 2008

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    Los antiguos edificios chinos normalmente están sobre plataformas y están bordeadas con balaustradas de mármol que tienen unos postes en los extremos que se laman en Chino wangzhu .
    Estos postes tienen talladas cabezas de dragones , aves fénix , leones... sobre nubes o llamas , que a parte de ser ornamentales representaban el rango jerárquico del edificio
    Los dragones y las aves fénix eran exclusivas de los edificios imperiales . El resto de personas no podían usar estos símbolos , pues era considerado como un crimen de alta traición , por eso utilizaban granadas , leones y otros símbolos que significaban buena suerte , felicidad y larga vida

    The ancient Chinese buildings are usually on platforms and are lined with marble balustrades that have upright posts at the ends that are named wangzhu in Chinese.
    These poles have carved heads of dragons, phoenix , birds, lions ...over clouds or flames , that besides of being ornamental , they represented the hierarchical rank of the building
    The dragon and phoenix birds were unique to the imperial buildings. Other people are not able to use these symbols, as it was considered a crime of high treason, for this reason they used pomegranates, lions and other symbols which meant good luck, happiness and longevity

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    1 Parque-Beihai-Park

    by elpariente Updated Mar 22, 2008

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    Un paseo por las mañanas en el Parque del Norte , es algo muy agradable , pues además de estar en un enclave muy bonito , es el sitio donde se puede ver a los Chinos que van por las mañanas a desarrollar las aficiones más variadas ,como:
    - Escribir con agua (Esta diversión "inútil" me apasiona ya que utilizan una brocha larga y se pasan las horas escribiendo en el suelo , no se lo que escriben , pero según van pintando se van secando y desapareciendo las letras )
    - Música , tocan todo tipo de instrumentos
    - Baile , que practican con la música de un cassete
    - Los hay que hablan con los árboles
    - Simplemente se frotan las manos

    To walk in the North Park in the mornings is a very nice experience , because besides from being a nice enclave is the place where you may see the Chinese that go in the mornings to develop the most varied hobbies as:
    -- Write with water (This "useless" amusement I like , as they use a long brush and spend many hours writing on the flor, I do not know what they write, but as they are painting the letters go drying up and disappearing )
    -- Musici, they play all kind of instruments
    -- Dancing, They practise with the music from a cassette
    -- Others speak with the trees
    -- Simply rub their hands

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    Footgear at the door, please!

    by ntm2322 Written Oct 17, 2007

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    Chinese people have a bunch of good hygienic habits that western people should learn from.

    When you are invited to visit a Chinese family you should know that before walking in you should take off your footgear.

    They know that in your country you can roam around the whole house with the same foot apparel that you outside and might have stepped on a dog’s piece of ***, so just as a kind of politeness they might tell you, followed by a generous smile, that you don’t need to take them off.

    Please, you do insist and take your shoes or sandals off. The hosts will be very happy for your token of respect and they will immediately give you a pair of slippers to put on.

    A basket full of footwear placed at the entrance
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    Chinese red envelopes

    by ntm2322 Updated Oct 15, 2007

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    The Chinese red envelopes are called hong2 bao1 in Mandarin and are popular gifts for any occasion. They symbolize luck and wealth. In western countries people use presents to mark the occasion, in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau most of the time red envelopes (with money inside, of course) are used.

    When offering a red envelope to somebody it must be done with both hands and expressing some wishes at the same time (Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Good Health, etc.). On the other hand, people who receive the red envelope must receive it with both hands and express his/her gratitude (a simple word of thank you is good enough). Never refuse a red envelope.

    When offering a red envelope never put coins like little change or dirty, creased bank bills inside, instead, use “good-looking” bank bills.
    How much to give it depends of you and the degree of intimacy you have with the person you want to give the red envelope to.

    Many Chinese people use red envelopes in their own houses for good luck, they usually place red envelopes under small tangerines. In this case coins are used instead of bank bills.

    Let’s see another example. It is Chinese New Year. If you are a single person you are not supposed to hand out any red envelopes, just sit and wait for them. If you are married you are supposed to carry with you a generous bunch of red envelopes for the whole week to distribute them and expect to receive a few only from your mother-in-law and father-in-law.

    In office, it is the same. If you are married you should give red envelopes to your colleagues’ children and if you have a child they will do the same to you. You should also give a red pocket to your single co-workers but once again, because you are married you will receive none.

    'Red envelopes' may come in other beautiful colors
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    Layout of Forbidden City

    by SLLiew Written Aug 20, 2007

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    There Forbidden City is not only a palace and administrative building of the late Ming and Qing Dynasty, it incorporates the elements of Chinese beliefs in fengshui (geomancy) as well in fortification in protection against attacks.

    The Forbidden City is surrounded by a deep moat and different sections are separated by high walls.

    The layout of the palace is in a north-south direction. The southern section is for the public to meet the Empeor while the northern section is for the Emperor and his family. There are no trees or potential hidding places for assasins in the south section but in the north section, there is a garden with trees for the Emperor's concubines and relatives.

    Many of the beams and construction used nine or multiples of nines as nine in Chinese "jiu" sounds like longevity. The basic five elements of fire, earth, wind, metal and wood is also represented.

    To appreciate the Forbidden City fully is to appreciate the Chinese culture and beliefs.

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