Did you know the Chinese culture believes in bad fortune, evil spirits, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures? In comparison to the United States, most ghosts and spirits only exist in movies. According to traditional beliefs, Chinese people believe that they become a ghost after death. The United States has different beliefs to what happens to them after death, depending on what religion they are. The Chinese culture celebrates a rite of birth, marriage, and funerals that differs from how specific believes and traditions are achieved in the United States.
In the traditional Chinese society, funeral rites are a significant part of the Chinese culture, and all the strict rules and etiquette has to be strictly followed. The Chinese believe that if they do not follow the dress attire, their family will be brought bad luck. Their culture is known for having beautiful funeral ceremonies. This is a tradition because it displays their family status and how much money the family possesses. The Chinese believe if they live until eighty years old, they lived life to the fullest. If they’re attending a funeral where the deceased is eighty or above their attire should be in white attire with hints of pinks or red. The pink and red symbolize happiness for the deceased long lived life. The children, as well as the sons and daughter in-law of the deceased wears white. A blue color attire is also worn during funerals if they are a grandchild.
A huge difference in the Chinese culture in comparison to the United States culture is at funerals they wear white, unless they are a direct family member then they wear black. In the United States everybody attending a funeral wears black. The color white in their culture symbolizes a new life instead of the end of one. The color black in the United States symbolizes the ending of someone’s life and the remorse people are feeling. In addition, the traditional Chinese culture believes that evil spirits can be kept away if loud music is playing. During the period of the “wake” is when people come to the house of the deceased or temple to show their respects. The flower that is most popular after someone dies is the white iris. The white iris is what is usually brought to the “wake” period.
Marriage in China has dramatically changed in the past few decades. In the 1950’s new legal policies such as: the New Marriage Law and the Family Planning policy back in 1979 until more modern times in 2015. The significant change from the 1950’s until now is the freedom to marry whoever they desire. Unfortunately, women and men in China still face parental and cultural pressures. Mostly women face this challenge, considering her future partner’s social and economic background. It’s unfortunate because money shouldn’t play a role in a relationship, especially when it comes to marriage. In comparison to the United States, men and women are allowed to marry whoever and whenever. Hetero sexual marriages is looked as the norm of their society and the responsibility of good citizenship in China. In China home sexuality is allowed, as well as in the United States.
The United States only allowed one state in 2004 to legally how homo sexual marriage cereomonies. Up until 2015 all fifty states were legalized for gay marriages. During a wedding ceremony in the United States, the bride wears a white gown and the groom wears a black tux. The brides carries a bouquet of flowers while walking down the aisle. The bride is escorted by her father down the aisle to her groom before the ceremony starts. Marriage ceremonies in China are very different and unique. Choosing a “lucky” date for the ceremony to be held is determined by fortune tellers. These fortune tellers analyze the time, day, date the groom and bride were both born on. The primary goal is to not set the date of the wedding on the last fifteen days of the seventh lunar month. This is important to the chinese culture because this is known as the Hungry Ghost Festival. The “hair dressing” ritual occurs many hours before the ceremony. The bride soaks in pomelo, which is equivalent to grapefruit. This traditional ritual allows the bride to cleanse away any evil spirits and smooths her skin before her big day. In addition, while her hair is being done, a “good luck women” blesses the bride with a happy marriage and a healthy family.
Finally, the groom proceeds to the bride’s house. He lights off firecrackers, as well as hitting gongs and drums to scare of any evil spirits. Attendants will help the groom carry the bridal sedan, which the bride is carried in. The friends of the bride do not allow her out of the house until the groom gives her a red envelope of cash, which is called hong bao. Similar to the United States, the groom wears a tux and the bride wears a white gown. The difference is guests in China wear red to symbolize luck and wealth. Black and white should not be worn at a Chinese wedding. Overall the Chinese culture main focus is to banish an evil spirits before the wedding day.
In China, a birth in the family leads to significance in the community. There are numerous of rituals when giving birth in China. “Chinese mothers also abstain from certain types of food during their pregnancy that are believed to be harmful to the baby. For example, pregnant Cantonese women are warned against consuming mutton as the Cantonese word for the meat has the same pronunciation as the word for epilepsy. On the other hand, Hokkien mothers are advised to avoid crabs as it is believed that doing so will result in the birth of a naughty child – literally born with as many “hands” as a crab. “Cooling” foods, which are associated with the reduction of heat or vitality, are also avoided as they may weaken the womb. At the same time, it is believed that certain foods should be taken to help strengthen the womb and ensure a smooth delivery. To give the child a smooth and fair complexion, expected mothers are recommended to take gingko fruits and strips of dried soya paste.” (Singapore Government) Again, they have a strong belief in good fortune and have many set rituals to follow. If they are not followed, the baby could be unhappy, unhealthy, and badly behaved. For babies birthdays, the Chinese culture believes in celebrating the babies birthday for thirty days. “The Chinese regard the completion of the full 30 days since birth as the first birthday of the child or its “full moon”.
While the practice of rituals and scale of celebration may vary, most families still celebrate the 30th day or man yue (满月) of the baby’s birth.” (Singapore Government) In the United States pregnant women must stay away from drugs and alcohol in order to have a healthy baby. Similar to pregnant women in China, women in a America are suppose to stay away from specific meats, fish, and specific cheeses in order to have a healthy baby. Fruits, vegetables, and sweet potatoes are three great things to eat when pregnant. Birth has a different meaning in the United States. Birth is exciting and a start of a new chapter with their loved ones. A tradition when pregnant is to have a baby shower, which celebrates the gift of life. Friends and family gather together and give the women having the shower gifts for her newborn. Another tradition the This occurs before the baby is born. Overall the traditions are very different, but the foods both pregnant american and chinese women intake are very similar.
The Chinese culture differs from the United States culture. Ghosts, spirits, and supernatural creatures are a significant part of the Chinese religion. The United States has a morals and etiquette, but overall have a lot more freedom to believe in whatever they desire. China has set traditions that have been followed for centuries and rules that must be followed in their culture. The Chinese culture celebrates a rite of birth, marriage, and funerals that differs from how specific believes and traditions are achieved in the United States.
- National Library Board, Singapore Government
- Pearl River, Chinese Wedding Traditions, Past and Present
- Sciencedirect, Chinese Nursing Research
- Uno, R,Chinese Funeral Etiquette