Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

China’s Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on month 8 day 15 of China’s lunar calendar (in September or October). Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 is on September 27.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival to Chinese people after the Spring Festival. Every year, when the festival comes, Chinese go home from every corner of the country and the world for family reunions.

Chinese people believe the full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion. On Mid-Autumn night the harvest moon is supposed to be the brightest and fullest of the year, so the festival is also known as the “Day of Reunion” and the “Moon Festival”. This day is also considered as a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain are harvested by this time.

Here are the things you should know about this special occasion, perhaps they could be a guide to what you can do on this day.

 Chinese festival

How Mid-Autumn Festival Began

The Mid-Autumn Festival has a history of over 3,000 years, dating back to moon worship in the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). It‘s such an important festival that many poems were written about it, stories and legends on the festival are widespread, and its origins have been guessed at and explained by generations of Chinese.

Legend about Mid-Autumn Festival

 Chinese festival

In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir. But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved very much her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife.

When the local people heard this, they arranged incense tables to worship the goddess Chang’e, praying for happiness and safety. Since then, worshipping and appreciating the moon during Mid-Autumn festival has become popular.

Mooncakes — the Must-Eat Mid-Autumn Treat

 Chinese festival

Mooncakes are traditional Chinese pastries eaten to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival typically involves much giving, receiving, and eating of mooncakes.

Chinese mooncakes are the traditional dessert/snack of Mid-Autumn Festival. They are round in shape, like the full harvest moon of Mid-Autumn’s evening. Up to 10 cm (4 inches) wide and 5 cm (2 inches) deep, most mooncakes consist of a pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

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Tai Chi and Health Keeping

Tai Chi, as an excellent way of keeping fit, originates from ancient Chinese arts of health preservation.

Ancient methods of maintaining health may be divided into two main categories: static and dynamic, the distinction being whether or not physical movements are involved.

 Chinese martial arts

As a form of wushu, tai chi assimilates the essence of both the static and dynamic exercises. Combining the features of ancient static and dynamic exercises, the tai chi movements are slow and gentle, without exerting force to the utmost, the purpose being to activate the organism, to promote the circulation of qi and blood, and to achieve harmony between yin and yang, mental equilibrium and spiritual peace.

Health benefits

Researchers have found that intensive tai chi practice shows some favorable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia,. Tai chi’s gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.

 Chinese martial arts

A study also found that tai chi (compared to regular stretching) showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, in a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the tai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.

Stress and mental health

A systematic review and meta-analysis, funded in part by the U.S. government, of the studies on the effects of practicing t’ai chi found that, “Twenty-one of 33 randomized and nonrandomized trials reported that 1 hour to 1 year of regular tai chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between t’ai chi practice and psychological health.”

 Chinese martial arts

There have also been indications that tai chi might have some effect on noradrenaline and cortisol production with an effect on mood and heart rate. In one study, t’ai chi has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 13 adolescents. The improvement in symptoms seems to persist after the t’ai chi sessions were terminated.

As a development of ancient static and dynamic exercises, tai chi has become a unique health-oriented system in its own right. It is a valuable asset belonging not only to the Chinese people; with its value gaining wider and wider appreciation; it will benefit more and more people in the rest of the world.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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Traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

The Duanwu or Dragon Boat Festival, which is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, falls on June 20 this year. It is one of the oldest festivals, not only in China but also throughout the world, with a history of more than 2,000 years.

Poet Qu Yuan in a painting.
 Chinese Culture

The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a patriot poet during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), who committed suicide by flinging himself into the Miluo River in Central China’s Hunan province after his mother kingdom fell into enemy rule.

Legend holds that people in boats raced to the site where he drowned and threw in zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves) so fish wouldn’t feed on Qu’s body.

Since then, the fifth day of the fifth month on the lunar calendar is celebrated as the Dragon Boat Festival. People hold boat races and prepare zongzi in memory of Qu’s righteousness and his beautiful poems.

1. Eating Zongzi

Different varieties of zongzi tempt the palate.
 Chinese Culture

Also called glutinous rice dumpling wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves, zongzi is an essential Dragon Boat Festival food, but tastes vary between the north and south of China.

In the north people favor sweet zongzi and jujube is used as a filling, while in the south zongzi takes different shapes and various fillings, such as fresh meat, egg yolk, sweetened bean paste or ham.

2. Dragon boat racing

Competitors row a dragon boat during a race in East China’s Anhui Province.
 Chinese Culture

Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival with the boats so named because the fore and stern are in the shape of a Chinese dragon.

Legend has it that the race originates from the idea that people rowed boats to seek Qu Yuan’s body after he drowned.

3. Hanging auspicious leaves

People hang mugwort leaves and calamus on doors and windows to repel insects and moths.
 Chinese Culture

It is said that the fifth lunar month is considered a “poisonous” one in the Chinese farmer’s almanac because insects and pests are active and it is also high season for people catching infectious diseases.

During the Dragon Boat Festival people in southern China put mugwort leaves and calamus on the doors or windows to keep insects out of their homes. The leaves are believed to have curative properties.

4. Wearing scented sachets and five-color silk thread

A child with scented sachets.
 Chinese Culture

In the north, people believe that wearing scented sachets protects children from evil. The young decorate their clothes with small pouches made from colorful silk cloth with five-color silk thread.

Another custom is to tie thread around a child’s wrists, ankles and neck. Five-color thread holds special significance in China in that it is thought to contain magical and healing properties. Children are not permitted to speak while parents tie the thread for them, neither are they allowed to remove it until after the first summer rainfall when they throw the thread into the river. This is thought to protect them from plague and disease.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com    

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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How to Choose A Martial Art

1. Set a budget. Some arts require a significant investment in equipment. There’s no point in getting interested in something you ultimately can’t afford to do.

2. Determine your ultimate objective. The four major categories are usually as follows. (a) Health & Fitness with martial efficacy as a subordinate benefit. (b) Martial skill as the primary concern with a nice side dish of discipline and health & fitness. (c) Being part of a heritage and cultural tradition stretching back hundreds or thousands (depending on the art) of years. (d) Winning trophies in sporting events.

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kungfu

3. Decide on a martial arts style. You might choose a hard style, such as Muay Thai (Thailand) or Western Boxing, a semi-hard style such as Tae Kwon Do or Hapkido (Korea), a soft style traditional art, such as Aikido (Japan) or one of the many Kung Fu styles (China), or a grappling/ground fighting art, such as Jiu Jitsu (Brazil/ Japan) and Western Martial Arts (Europe). Do you want to compete one-on-one in the ring with opponents who use the same style as you, or study the traditions of a particular culture’s martial art, or learn to defend yourself against real-life attackers on the street? The training methods are vastly different, and most martial arts schools focus on one aspect.

Chinese Kungfu

Chinese Kungfu

4. Recognize your physical limitations. If you are older or not very acrobatic, Wushu (China) probably isn’t for you, but Tai Chi (China) might suit you nicely. Furthermore, recognize that striking martial arts like Karate or Taekwondo may or may not be well-suited for smaller physiques.

5. Consider your cultural interests. If you have a respect for or interest in a certain culture, learning more through one of their martial arts can be a great experience. If that is part of your goal, choose a school taught by a native of that culture, or someone who trained directly under someone of that culture.

6. Consider the effectiveness of the martial art as well. For example, a modern martial art such as Krav Maga (Israeli), reconstructed Western Martial Arts such as ARMA or the AES (European) or classes led by experienced soldiers or police officers will place a greater emphasis on the “martial” aspect rather than the “art.” This is not to say that traditional Asian arts are less important; it may take longer to learn basic self defense this way as many Eastern arts are about developing more than just basic self-defense skills.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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6 cultural differences between China and the US

Living in a culture that is different from your own can be both an exciting and challenging experience. You have to learn different cultural practices and try to adapt to them. The following contents are the top six cultural differences between China and the US to help promote mutual understanding.

 
 Chinese Culture

1. Privacy

Chinese people do not have the same concept of privacy as Americans do. They talk about topics such as ages, income or marital status, which Americans think is annoying and intrusive.

2. Family

In China, elders are traditionally treated with enormous respect and dignity while the young are cherished and nurtured. In America, the goal of the family is to encourage independence, particularly that of the children. Unlike the Chinese, older Americans seldom live with their children.

3. Friends

Chinese people have different meanings to define friends. Just hanging out together time to time is not friendship. Friendship means lifelong friends who feel deeply obligated to give each other whatever help might seem required. Americans always call people they meet friends, so the definition of friends is general and different. There are work friends, playing friends, school friends and drinking friends.

4. Money

As is well known, the Chinese like to save. They are always conservative when they are planning to spend money. It is different in the USA, where far fewer families are saving money for emergencies and education than their Chinese counterparts.

5. Education

Chinese people value education and career more than Americans, who in turn put more emphasis on good character and faith.

6. Collectivism vs. Individualism

Basically China values the community and the US values the individual. If you achieve something in the US, it’s because you were great. While in China, if you achieve something in China it’s because the team, or family, or company is great. Everything you do gets attributed to the greater whole, while in America individual merits are celebrated.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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Yip Man, the master of Wing Chun

Yip Man, also known as Ip Man (1893-1972), was a master of the Wing Chun and the first to teach this style openly. He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee. Most major branches of Wing Chun that exist today were developed and promoted by his students.

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Yip Man and Bruce Lee

Biography

Yip Man was born in Foshan, Guangdong province in south China. He started learning Wing Chun here When he was thirteen years old. Because of his master’s old age, Yip Man had to learn much of his skills and techniques from his master’s second eldest disciple.

 
 Chinese Kungfu

At the age of 15 Yip man moved to Hong Kong with help from a relative. At age sixteen, Yip Man attended school at St. Stephen’s College in Hong Kong. It was a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners who lived in Hong Kong. According to Yip Man’s two sons, while at St. Stephen’s, Yip Man intervened after seeing a foreign police officer beating a woman. The story goes that the Police officer tried to strike Yip Man who used his martial arts to strike the officer down, at which point Yip Man and his classmate ran to school. The classmate is said to have told an old man who lived in his apartment block. Yip Man was invited to see this man and it turned out that the old man was his master’s elder fellow-disciple (and so, by Chinese tradition Yip Man’s martial uncle). After that encounter, Yip Man continued his training lessons from this man.

By the age of 24, Yip Man had returned to Foshan, and his Wing Chun skills tremendously improved. In Foshan, Yip Man became a policeman. He did not formally run a Wing Chun school, but taught several of his subordinates, his friends and relatives.

During the Japanese Occupation(1931-1945), Yip Man went to one of his students’ village house. He only returned to Foshan after the war, to once again take up the job of a police officer. At the end of 1949, he went to Hong Kong again.

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Yip Man

In Hong Kong, he opened a martial arts school. Initially, business was poor because his students typically stayed for only a couple of months. Later, some of his students were skilled enough that they were able to start their own schools. Some of his students and descendants compared their skills with other martial artists in combat. Their victories over other martial artists helped to bolster Yip Man’s reputation as a teacher.

In 1967, Yip Man and some of his students established the Hong Kong Wing Chun Athletic Association. In 1972, Yip Man suffered throat cancer and subsequently died on the 2nd of December that same year.

Within the three decades of his career in Hong Kong, he established a training system for Wing Chun that eventually spread across the world.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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Chinese Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival (or Yuan Xiao Festival in Chinese) is a traditional Chinese festival with great significance, which is on the 15th of the first lunar month, marking the end of New Year celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns.

 
 Chinese Culture

Here are some things you should know about the Lantern Festival.

A sea of lanterns

 
 Chinese Culture

The biggest attraction of the Lantern Festival is the sea of lanterns in every conceivable size and shape. This is a festival for people to have fun. At night, people go into the streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon and watch the lion or dragon dance, try to solve Chinese riddles and play games, enjoy typical food called Yuan Xiao and set off firecrackers. There is really a lot of fun for the young and the old.

Eating small dumpling balls

 
 Chinese Culture

Just as the name implies, an important part of the Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Festival, is to eat small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour. We call these balls Yuan Xiao, or Tang Yuan. Obviously, they get the name from the festival itself. Made of sticky rice flour filled with sweet or salty stuffing and round in shape, the dumpling symbolizes family unity, completeness and happiness. Sweet fillings are made of sugar, walnuts, sesame, osmanthus flowers, rose petals, sweetened tangerine peel, bean paste or jujube paste. A single ingredient or any combination can be used as the filling. The salty variety is filled with minced meat, vegetables or a mixture of both.

Guessing lantern riddles

 
 Chinese Culture

When it comes to the Lantern Festival, “Guessing lantern riddles” is an essential component. Lantern owners will write riddles on a piece of paper and post them on the lanterns in advance. If visitors can answer the riddles, they can just pull the paper out and go to the lantern owners to check their answers. If they are right, they will get a little gift. The activity emerged during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). As riddle guessing is interesting and full of wisdom, it has become popular among all social strata.

Watching fireworks

 
 Chinese Culture

At night, in addition to magnificent lighted lanterns, fireworks form a grand scene. Most families save some fireworks from the Spring Festival and set them off during the Lantern Festival. Some local governments will even organize a fireworks party. On the night when the first full moon enters the New Year, people become really intoxicated by the imposing fireworks and bright moon in the sky.

Dragon dance

 
 Chinese Culture

The dragon dance, a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture, is often seen in some festival celebrations. The dance is performed by a team of dancers who manipulate a long flexible figure of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. The dance team mimics the supposed movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

About Interact China

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“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide”

We co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via InteractChina.com, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 2000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Tailor Shop, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.
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P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!
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