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

  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo

    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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    • Music

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  • Skating on the moat at the Forbidden City

    by mke1963 Written Jan 30, 2004

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    A particularly fun activity - and one which you can tell disbelieving friends back home - is skating on the frozen moat of the Forbidden City. The entrance is in Zhongshan Park and you can rent skates there for a couple of hundred kuai deposit. It can get very busy in at the weekends, but it is a good way to warm up.

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  • Sally_chen's Profile Photo

    With your persistence, things may change.....

    by Sally_chen Written Feb 26, 2004

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    This has happened to me many times ,mostly in restaurant or hotel ...when I require a favour which I consider is logical and human , the staff can easily reply me with " not possible madam" .

    Most of the times I had to call their supervisor or manager and talk with them directly , they are more flexiable and care more about customer satisfaction! Things may changed in the positive way !

    We should remeber the slogon in Chinese " Customer is god" ....

    Be patient !

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  • filipdebont's Profile Photo

    Rubbing the door knobs

    by filipdebont Written Jan 15, 2005

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    It was kind of funny to see, as each time we were passing one of the many gates in the Forbidden City in Beijing, all the Chinese visitors were rubbing the big door knobs,

    It must be some kind of superstition, as they believe that rubbing these door knobs will bring good luck.

    It is also funny to see that the rubbed door knobs are really shining and the higher ones have a darker colour as these knobs can not be reached

    Rubbing the door knobs
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    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

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  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    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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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    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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  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    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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  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    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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  • pmarshuk's Profile Photo

    Westerners

    by pmarshuk Updated Jan 5, 2004

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    Do not be surprised if people on the street cover their mouths and noses as they walk past you. Because the Chinese diet does not include anywhere near as many dairy products as the west, we give off a very distinctive odour which they find unpleasant.

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  • Luchonda's Profile Photo

    Give her an ice cream

    by Luchonda Updated May 6, 2003

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    Culture guidance is in fact : look at the picture
    -not only to the young girl dirty old men ! but to the difference : the selling woman of local ice but with a mask to protect against air pollution - the person on the left - protecting against - no serious - old and young meets in Beijing ! But it can take some years !
    i think the protest of students a few years ago on this square was a revolution !! And opened China - the economics - the culture - the world opinion about freedom !

    Ice cream

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  • jenaikes's Profile Photo

    Take your photos of ppl with their permission

    by jenaikes Updated Mar 20, 2006

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    ...otherwise, do it quickly. The mainland Chinese are extremely paranoid people. Paranoid about people laughing at their behaviour/bad habits (cos they are proud), paranoid especially if they are roadside hawkers or streetside vendors cos they are afraid that police can identify them for illegal hawking etc...

    The ones with children normally are more open when you want to photogragh their chidren, especially if you complement that their kid is "ke ai" (adorable). Ask when in doubt if not you'll risk getting scolded.

    ppl smoking in a restaurant

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  • wwliu's Profile Photo

    Chisel Seal

    by wwliu Written May 21, 2006

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    Liulichang is an antique street in Beijing which is famous for curio trade. Today, it is become to culture express typical street in Beijng. You may find most old Beijing's culture activities as chiseling seal. In the past, people espacially intellectual and officer have stone seal called "Zhang" in Chinese. It is different from seals today we use. Chiselling characters on a stone like jade and carnelian is not a easy stuff. Not only chisel without mistake, but also chisel beautiful style. It is definitely is a hard skill. So, if you walk on Liulichang, why not chisel one your own seal.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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  • tompt's Profile Photo

    Kite flying

    by tompt Written Oct 9, 2004

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    On highway overpasses, on squares, like the tiananmen, or in parks like the summerpalace grounds, you can't miss seeing kites flying over Beijing.

    It is said the kite was invented by Lu Ban in the 4th century BC. Kites were first used for military purposes before being adopted as toys. Chinese soldiers used colorful kites to confuse and frighten their enemies, and also to keep lines of communication open from battlefields. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)the improved designs and new materials made it possible for ordinary people to make and fly their own kites. Colored paper, silk, and cloth were mounted on bamboo frames to make simple kites. From then it became a relaxing hobby.

    In the picture a man flying his kite from the bridge over the lake of the summer palace.

    Enjoying his kite

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  • cpim2004's Profile Photo

    Useful chinese words and phrases

    by cpim2004 Written Apr 30, 2005

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    English Chinese / Phonetic in English

    Salutations
    Hello/Good Evening / Knee How
    What is your name? / neen gway shing
    Good Bye / zi gee'en

    Important Sayings
    Yes / shr
    No / boo shr
    Right/Correct / dway
    Wrong / boo dway
    No, thanks / boo yong sheh
    Thank you / sheh sheh
    You are welcome / boo yong sheh
    Excuse me / dway boo chee
    I do not understand / wore ting boo dong
    I would like / wore yeow
    How much / dor sheow chen
    Too expensive / tie gway la
    Do you have...? / yo may yo
    I don't need that / boo yeow
    Toilet / tsur saw
    How long(time)? / dor joe

    Directions
    Stop! / ting
    Turn left / zaw
    Turn right / yo
    Go straight / chee'an
    Where is...? / zi nar lee
    Here / Jur lee

    At the restaurant
    Chopstick / kwhy za
    Knife / dow
    Fork / char z
    Spoon / sheow z
    Water / shway
    Coke / kur la
    Bill / my dan

    Pronouns
    I / Me / wore
    You / knee
    He / She / It / tar

    Figures of speech
    That's good / how
    That's not good / boo how
    It was nice / hun how

    Numbers
    1 e
    2 r
    3 san
    4 sz
    5 oo
    6 leo
    7 chee
    8 bah
    9 jeo
    10 shr
    11 shr e
    12 shr r
    13 shr san
    14 shr sz
    20 r shr
    30 san shr
    100 ee bye
    1,000 ee chee an
    10,000 ee wan

    Chinese Knot
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  • crewrower's Profile Photo

    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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