The region of China has a very long history with many different political systems; from tribal, to royalty, to democracy, colonialism to communism. Yet, over the centuries many common denominators remained in place.
The Chinese traditionally as a cultural group have valued loyalty and stressed the importance of keeping one’s word. Discretion is greatly valued. It is related to humility and especially not causing themselves or others to lose face or honor. A familiar practice is to recognize friendship first and competition second.
For many years the Chinese were isolated from much of the world and other people. They did trade with other Asian locations, but not until the European traders came to China did they have any exposure to very diverse cultures.
During the centuries they made huge advancements in necessities for human society. Most of the time the people were farmers. They were dependent on the land and climate, so developed the best agricultural methods to produce the most food, such as rice terracing on hilly lands.
The Chinese language and writing system is based on characters that represent a word, a thought or an object. There is a character or drawing for everything, including emotions.
Everything in their daily life needed to be natural. Even the Confucian philosophy also share this naturalistic view of life.
Their inventions included paper, the compass, gunpowder, fireworks and printing. They domesticate the oxen and buffalo to help with labor. The eating instrument of a fork was used before the chopstick. Millet, a grain, was used in the making of noodles. The making of silk cloth became one of the Chinese major trademarks. There is the traditional medical practice of acupuncture. The development of a crank handle came from the Chinese culture as well as the flying of kites and countless more other innovations.
As one of the world’s oldest and most complex cultures there is a great deal to discover when working on Chinese genealogy. In China there are some 56 distinct ethnic groups. Most follow the teachings of Confucianism and Taoism. Much of the Chinese culture is based on the notion that a spiritual world exists. In Taoism, the indigenous religion of China, it is centered on ’the way,’ a method to recognizing the true nature of the universe.
The Chinese have kept written books and records for many subjects including poetry, stories, astronomy and for Chinese genealogy. Traditional dance, music and theater show (Chinese opera) express everyday activities of the people and their fight against natural disasters.
A major cultural trait when looking at Chinese genealogy is the treatment of the elderly. People value the life experiences and the wisdom the aged are felt to have accumulated over the years. This is tied to ancestor worship and related to Chinese culture, Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. They offer prayers to their ancestors along with true love and respect of those who came before them.