Local traditions and culture in Beijing

  • Local Customs
    by machomikemd
  • Local Customs
    by machomikemd
  • Local Customs
    by machomikemd

Most Viewed Local Customs in Beijing

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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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    No tipping, poor service?

    by melosh Written Jun 27, 2007

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    Tipping is not customary in China. My son who lives near Beijing believes this may explain why the service is often so indifferent, inefficient and even cold in Beijing restaurants. I observed this at almost every good restaurant we visited, even though my son spoke Chinese and was always friendly and courteous. Come to think of it, this was only not true at the most modest place we ate at during my stay in Beijing.

    This lack of tipping would not explain why everywhere else I visited in China the service seemed both efficient and very friendly.

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    The Dazibaos

    by kokoryko Written Apr 24, 2007

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    The dazibaos are not what they used to be !!
    They were created for “free” expression of “citizens”, political education and information, now. . . it is financial information. . . times have changed. . . .
    Well it is a bit a silly thought, but I am not sure this kind of Dazibao is better than the former ones.

    The modern Dazibao!
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    Show windows

    by kokoryko Written Apr 24, 2007

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    What do Beijing and Amsterdam have in common? There are not as many channels in Beijing as in Amsterdam, but many bikes and bikers can be found in both cities. What else? Have a look at picture 2 and you will know. Yes, I was very surprised to find show windows with women here in Beijing, as the communist Party, long time ago banished prostitution and I thought it could not be that “public”. But times are changing, it seems, and money is money, so I guess these activities are allowed.
    No it is not a phantasm, the girls made very explicit signs to me when I passed by, and they did hide when they saw my camera, I just had time to make one picture showing them.


    Main picture: Biker in Beijing, from biker’s perspective, quite a very common view in both Amsterdam and Beijing.

    Picture 2:This is a show window for some special activities; I have put this in local customs, but I am not sure this custom is local; but I wouldn’t dare to post this in “things to do”! Picture taken on Deshengmennei Dajie.

    Could be Amsterdam.. . . Could be Amsterdam.. . .
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    Fly a kite!

    by idy Updated Mar 13, 2007

    Beijingers are pretty big on flying kites. On any given day, you may spot a kite or two in the sky. At first you may mistake them from large birds, but no, they are kites. If it's a sunny day with a nice wind, not galing, the number of kites will increase exponentially.

    It's good fun and you can easily get your kite up as high as your string is long, as it's a sunny and gusty city. Be careful, though, not to get into any kite accidents with the locals - if you have the ill fortune to meet a nasty fellow, he'll demand that you pay him if his kite is damaged!

    What a pretty kite! Up it goes ...
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    Old Beijing Hutong

    by amy_leong Written Oct 18, 2006

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    You will need to bargain with the trishaw agents. We managed to get the price down to RMB30 per trishaw (2 passengers) for the Old Beijing Hutong Ride. Price excludes entrance fees to certain spots or meals.

    Hutong Wall Art
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    Staring

    by oceania26 Written Aug 30, 2006

    If you're non oriental be prepared for a lot of gawking. They don't even hide the fact that they are ogling you. If you are non-white, expect even more starring - especially if you are black. It's more a curiousity then anything else, I don't most Chinese outside the major cities have seen foreigners.

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    Spitting

    by oceania26 Updated Aug 30, 2006

    Men and women will spit EVERYWHERE regardless if they're indoors or not. I was absolutely amazed by this...people hawking and spitting right there on the floor. You'll see gobs and gobs of spit everywhere. Kinda like bird poop in Venice...lol.

    I guess the spitting problem is getting pretty bad there because there are signs saying 'No Spitting'..LOL.

    Just be prepared

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    Electricity

    by keeweechic Updated Aug 21, 2006

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    Voltage is 220 volts. In Hong Kong they operated on the 3 pronged flat British type plug, but I also had another fat round 3 pin plug in my apartment which was an older type and was gradually being replaced by the flat head plug.

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    BEIJINGERS

    by ancient_traveler Written Jun 5, 2006

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    Beijingers enjoy chatting, taking their caged birds out in the parks, gardening, raising gold fish, window shopping and playing cards and mahjong. In recent years, an increasing number of Beijingers have become soccer fans. Young people love pop and rock music.

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