Ancient Chinese Culture
The World is made up of different sets of people. Each set or group has its own identity defined by his or her language, tradition, food, costume, culture etc. These are some pointers which makes every group unique. But, the question arises ‘What is culture?', ‘How can we define culture?". Is it characterized by art and literature or does it also includes people's feelings and thoughts? Or is it something related with the beliefs or values? The answer is not so simple. To be more precise, Culture includes all these aspects and but can not be defined by a single word. Culture can be defined as the way of life of a particular group.
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex cultures. It is a multi-religious country, where Taoism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity are practiced. There are 56 distinct ethnic groups in which the "Han Chinese" holds the topmost position, the Zhuang" holds the second and ‘Manchu' the third. Mandarin is commonly used in the modern China. It is one of the five working languages designated by the United Nations. The majority of the 55 other ethnic groups have their own languages. There are also many dialects around the country. As a written language, Chinese has been used for 6,000 years. Chinese family names came into being some 5,000 years ago. There are more than 5,000 family names in China.
Chinese costume reflects a very distinct feature which no other country posses. One can get to know about the history of that particular era from any Chinese costume. Ancient Chinese costumes were having emblems of Chinese tradition, as well as an essential element in the history and culture of each dynasty.
With the advent of each new dynasty and the progression of time, costumes were revolutionized. The style was classical and conservative in the Qin and Han dynasties, luxurious and glamorous in the Tang dynasty, delicate and exquisite in the Song dynasty, graceful and magnificent in the Ming dynasty, and very intricate in the Qing dynasty.
Bamboo culture is prevalent in Chinese culture and customs. China arranges the Bamboo Culture Festival to exhibit of bamboo carvings, poems and paintings. Bamboo painting adorns the Chinese traditional paintings, which carry the significance of peace and harmony. New Year festival has a historic importance in Chinese society; it is celebrated from about 2600 BC.
Philosophy has had a tremendous effect on Chinese civilization. Many of the great philosophical schools were formulated during the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period, and came to be known as the Hundred Schools of Thought. The four most influential of these were Confucianism, Taoism, Maoism, and Legalism. Later on, during the Tang Dynasty, Buddhism from India also became a prominent philosophical and religious discipline. The theory of Yin and Yang rules the culture of China where Yin stands for the negative power or the feminine aspect while the Yang denotes a positive sign of the masculine power.