Libmonster ID: CN-1208
Author(s) of the publication: T. S. SHAROVA

Recently, I was lucky enough to see the validity of the widely held opinion that you can get an idea of Chinese traditions and culture, first of all, directly in the Chinese family. This was facilitated by the invitation of my Chinese friend Tang Wentian to visit his parents ' house. My first visit to this hospitable house was marked by a wonderful dinner prepared by my friend's grandmother. It was then that we met the family members. I felt their extraordinary benevolence. A friend of one of the family members is a friend of the whole family.

Tang Jianping's grandmother was particularly interested in me. She asked me a lot of questions that seemed to genuinely interest her. And my friend's grandfather, Tang Shihou, seemed a little shy about the presence of a foreign woman (for their generation, this is an event!). Later, I often came to visit them for dinner, and not so much to eat delicious food, but to hear interesting stories about the life of the Chinese, their traditions, and learn more about Chinese culture.


From ancient times to this day, China has revered the philosophy of Confucianism , a system of behavior and ethics that emphasizes people's obligations to each other. Confucianism implies respect for family and ancestral rites, observance of ancient laws and customs, the main of which is the cult of ancestors. This philosophy emphasizes the importance of loyalty, honor and sincere filial respect for the age and experience of the older generation. Filial reverence in the Confucian way is still present and clearly felt in the traditional family, in which the age hierarchy, seniority, is of great importance.

Once I was told a story from the time when this family lived in the village, when they were simple peasants. In the village, it is believed that the eldest son should be given the best food that will help him grow up faster and help the family. One of the most useful dishes is chicken soup - a simple broth made from black chicken with the addition of useful herbs. All the soup, along with the chicken, goes to the eldest son. However, the younger one, forced to put up with this situation, also wanted to eat chicken soup and often persuaded the older one to share at least not the most delicious piece.

In the Chinese tradition, there is a certain dining etiquette, which regulates how to behave at the table-to communicate, eat, etc.

When the whole family and friends gather together for dinner, an older family member can offer to drink wine with them, but you can't refuse: you have to pay tribute. Respect is the most important value in the family, and it should also be shown to the person who serves you at the table. When pouring drinks, you need to hold the cup with two palms.

You should also take a cup of rice with both hands. Rice is usually eaten to the end. This is due to the fact that before, and even now, rice, which is obtained by hard work, remains the main food, the basis of any dish. At a party, it is customary to eat "to the dump". Many proverbs in the Chinese language are related to this. The moral is: eat what they give and while they give.

At the table, it is important where you sit. In Russia, the head of the family sits at the head of the table. But since in China the tables are usually round, the location is determined in relation to the exit from the room. The head of the house usually sits at the back of the room, as far away from the door as possible. The youngest and unfamiliar people sit closer to the exit. If you are a guest, do not start the conversation yourself, but wait for someone to ask you something or talk to you. If you are having dinner at someone's house, your help in setting the table or cleaning the dishes will most likely not be accepted.

The process of eating takes a very important place in the life of the Chinese. Often, business people, businessmen invite their partners to dinner in a restaurant to communicate and solve important issues.

But home cooking is very different from what we order in restaurants. The dishes are modest, although numerous. The main dish is always rice. There are always vegetables on the table, for example, Chinese cabbage in a sauce that is very popular in the Middle Kingdom and (or) dill stalks in a sauce as a variant of a vegetable dish. Duck, chicken or beef prepared in various ways is served as a meat dish. Tellingly, if the duck was prepared by the owners themselves, then the neck, legs, and head of the bird will be on the table.

Dishes such as Chinese

* For more information, see: Burov V. G. The cult of Confucius is being revived in China / / Asia and Africa Today, 2011, N 4 (editor's note).
page 57
dumplings, duck, various cold snacks, much more convenient to buy than to cook yourself. This is increasingly used by the Chinese: the quality is not inferior to home, and the price is lower. Meat is often served in sweet and sour or some other sauce. Chicken and meat are most often cut into pieces along with bones.

Of course, this is only a small part of what can be prepared. Chinese favorites include fried tomatoes with egg, tree mushrooms (also known as "abalone"), eggplant, fish, shrimp, and more. Almost any food must include a variety of sauces, among which one of the most favorite is chili pepper sauce. By the end of the meal, soup is always served, especially after spicy dishes.

For breakfast, the Chinese can prepare dishes that are considered lunch dishes in our country. For example, I was offered veal tail soup one morning. However, as an option, porridge with fried tortillas is possible. Young people prefer yoghurts, soy milk, toast or scrambled eggs, which came to the Chinese gastronomic culture from the West.


So, if a Chinese family has accepted you once,you will always be like a member of that family. You will be taken care of as much as possible. In turn, you should not forget to show respect to the owners of the house.

Often, it is even impossible to understand from the outside that the "relative" is not quite native. So, I was once told that Tang Wentian's uncle had a girlfriend, and their relationship was very serious. She was already familiar with his parents and treated them very well, just like they treated her. After a while, the girl and Wentian broke up. But she always remained the named daughter of his parents, often comes to them and is considered part of the family. And Wentian was told to call her aunt. Real and fake uncles and aunts take their nephew with them to various dinners, give him gifts, throw money for pocket expenses. Thanks are not expected, it is simply explained: "I'm your (th) aunt (uncle), what do you thank me for?"

Family ties are strong and unbreakable. Divorce (even today) is extremely rare. Usually, family is the most important thing in a Chinese person's life. Everything else fades into the background. For relatives, you need to do everything possible and help if necessary, without requiring any payment.

But this does not mean that the Chinese do everything absolutely selflessly. Rather, on the contrary. Often, a friend can be called a person with whom you have a mutually beneficial relationship, and not based on mutual understanding and trust, as is customary in our country. This is not considered shameful. If a Chinese person has promised to do something, don't expect them to do it on time or at all. Taking offense in such cases is not accepted, it is considered natural.

In the summer, the family usually went on vacation to the summer house by the sea. This time I was invited. Wentian and I wanted to go there by train and meet the rest of the family there. But my friend's father promised that we would all go by car together, just wait for one day... We had agreed on an exact date within a week, when suddenly the day before the departure was again postponed by one day. For various reasons, the departure was postponed several more times, but finally it took place. This happens all the time, you should not be surprised.

As soon as funds are available, real estate, a house or an apartment is bought (which means a profitable investment of money), and its arrangement begins. The apartment prefers traditional Feng Shui (Taoist practice of symbolic space exploration) layout of rooms and furniture arrangement.

In Chinese apartments, there is no corridor at the entrance. At best, just opposite the front door is a small partition that separates the entrance from the living room. As a rule, at the entrance you can see a beautiful statue of the Buddhist patron saint of prosperity and wealth. There may also be an inverted hieroglyph for " wealth." The word "inverted "is pronounced the same as the word"come". Thus, when you say that "wealth" is reversed, thanks to a play on words and hieroglyphs, it can mean that wealth has come. The Chinese believe that the inverted character "wealth" attracts wealth to the home.

The spacious living room also serves as a dining area. From the living room there is a passage to the bathroom and bedrooms. If there are two or more bedrooms, then most likely the passage to them can be located through a kind of corridor. In the bedroom, the bed is placed in the center of the room. The kitchen in the apartment is usually small and is separated from the living room by sliding glass doors.

In China, they prefer wooden floors. This is due to the fact that not everywhere has heating, and the wooden floor is warmer than tile. Carpets in the interior are practically not used, because they are considered an overkill. The Chinese also prefer wooden furniture.

Residents of the Middle Kingdom, even with a very average income, try to bring expensive things to their home. For example, Tang Ninghuai, the owner of the house, proudly displayed collectible carved mahogany furniture, a huge plasma TV, a large antique porcelain vase, and other valuable items.

All Chinese people strive for wealth, which is often frowned upon in our society. We talk: "happiness is not in money," but the Chinese do not think so. They work hard to improve their quality of life.-

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family life, to leave a legacy to descendants.

An example is the fate of Tang Ninghuai, who achieved prosperity through his hard work and diligence. His parents worked in the fields from dawn to dawn, which, however, was natural at that time. How else could an ordinary person provide for himself even modestly?

But now a lot has changed in China. Business began to develop in the country, and foreign trends began to penetrate it. Tang Ninghuai managed to open his own business, although he did not have a higher education, since there was no money for this in the family.


Of course, the modern Chinese family is already different from the traditional one. The basic principles of relations and foundations of the traditional family have been passed down from generation to generation, but with the growing influence of the West, new views are being absorbed and a new attitude towards the family is being developed. In the traditional family, the roles of men and women were clearly divided: the man is the owner of the house, he repairs, builds, works outside the house, and the woman is the keeper of the hearth, washing, cooking, and cleaning. The position of a woman in the family was unenviable, no one considered her.

In our time, everything has changed. Now the girl chooses her own husband, and often makes high demands on him. They should have their own apartment or house, money, a good education, and a job. If a woman works, in a marriage, the man often does the housework himself: cooks, washes, cleans. But the children are still handled by a woman.

Since the birth restriction was introduced, the position of the child in the family has also changed dramatically. No matter what gender the child has, they are nurtured and cherished, buy him the best things, surround him with care and warmth. Many future parents dream that they will have twins, because in such cases, a fine for the second child is not charged. And if the parents are rich, they can afford to pay taxes and have as many children as they want.

But a child's life is only so carefree at first.

As soon as a child is sent to school, constant pressure begins to put on him - he must study best, most of all, in order to enter a good university, and then also find a good job. The population is huge, and the competition, of course, is very great. Students are almost never seen on the street, except during the hours when they go to school or return home. They are busy with all sorts of lessons at school, homework after it, additional circles and classes.

Children can do anything from idleness. In Russia, child crime is very common. In China, people don't know what it is. The children themselves also take a very responsible approach to their education and, starting from kindergarten, study hard. Older schoolchildren and students often work out at night. For example, in the "McDonald's", which works around the clock, at night you can see young people cramming something.

Parents pay for education and other expenses, and children study diligently in order to provide for their parents and their family in the future, of course.

One of the best examples is my friend Tang Wentian. He is the first in his family to receive a higher education. Feeling a high degree of responsibility, he tries his best to squeeze the maximum out of his education, quickly take a prestigious, highly paid position and, thus, provide for his family. Its ultimate goal is not just to ensure a comfortable old age for parents, but to give them absolutely everything they can wish for.

* * *

It seems to me that Tang Wentian's family reflects to one degree or another the ancient traditions and new trends of modern Chinese society.


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