With an encyclopedia worth of ingrained traditions in Chinese etiquette and customs, the dissimilarities between social norms of China and other western countries can come as a shock for the uninitiated.
We give you a basic idea about the Chinese etiquette and customs that you should know.
There are many superstitions in China. For example, the number four is regarded as bad luck because when pronounced in Chinese it sounds similar to the pinyin word for death. This is the reason why Chinese do not give room number 4 to their guests. In China, you will come across some hotels that do not have a room numbered 4 or a fourth floor. The number goes straight from 3 to 5. Chinese like all even numbers except 4, so they prefer giving gifts in numbers like two’s, eight’s or ten’s.
In Chinese hospitality, the host is obliged to keep their guests fully occupied. Generally, visitors are shown many sites, offered different kinds of meals. Chinese follow the tradition of seeing off their guests. Guests are not only accompanied to the street, but they are accompanied up to their transport, too. It is not considered as a waste of time, but the responsibility of the host.
In China, either the guest or the host or both of them may exchange gifts and the value of the gift is generally governed by its price. Here, people deliberately leave the price tag on the gift to show the actual price of the gift. People of China consider bigger as better so hosts give more than they eat as a sign of generosity.
Like many other cultures, it is considered good manners to offer a toast to the host or the guests of honour. Traditionally there are many auspicious phrases that are used, it is best to thank the host for their hospitality and support. When doing the toast, do ensure that you take a sip of your drink or the toast is considered insincere.
There are many more traditional practices that the Chinese observe in their day to day lives. But these should help you out on your first trip to China!
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