OFFICIAL NAME: People’s Republic of China
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Communist state
CAPITAL: Beijing (Peking)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Standard Chinese, Mandarin
MONEY: Yuan (or renminbi)
AREA: 3,705,405 square miles (9,596,960 square kilometers)
MAJOR MOUNTAIN RANGES: Himalaya
MAJOR RIVERS: Yangtze, Yellow
There are tons of Chinese celebrations and they are all rich in tradition, history, great food, dazzling lights and flashy decorations! Chinese festivals are based in the lunar calendar so the exact dates will vary from year to year in our Western Calendar. The Chinese lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon. Each year is represented by an animal. The Chinese believe that you have some of the characteristics of the animal representing the year that you were born.
By far, the largest and most important festival is the Chinese New Year which is celebrated on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month.
In Buddhism, the most significant celebration happens every May on the night of the full moon: Buddha Day. It is a celebration of the birth, enlightenment and death of the historical Buddha over 2,500 years ago.
People and Culture
With a population of 1.4 billion, China has more people than any other country on Earth. About a third of the population lives in cities. The rest of the people live in the country.
Although there is no “official” religion in China, the most widely practiced religions are Buddhism and Taoism.
The Chinese love their arts and crafts, and these have a long history. Thousands of years ago they were the first people to use silk, jade, bronze, wood, and paper to make art.
Table tennis (ping-pong) and badminton are very popular in China. Martial arts, running, soccer and basketball are also played by many.
China has a fascinating, and very, very long history. In fact, it has a longer history than any other country in the world. It goes back almost 6,000 years! Ancient China used to be ruled by emperors. Today, China is an authoritarian state ruled by a very powerful central government. It is controlled by the Communist Party, which does not allow opposition parties or a free press. The government owns 35% of all the country’s businesses.
In a country as immense as China, the diversity of its food is vast. A typical Chinese meal normally has several main dishes as opposed to one main dish. Normally, all dishes are set on the table at once and everybody helps themselves. There is always white rice and typically a couple meat dishes (chicken, beef or pork), a vegetable, fish or seafood, and a soup. Desserts are not common; a meal normally finishes with fresh fruit.