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Elements of Chinese Culture and The Effect on Chinese Women

Elements of Chinese Culture and The Effect on Chinese Women

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Elements of Chinese Culture and The Effect on Chinese Women

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  1. Elements of Chinese Cultureand The Effect on Chinese Women • ENG 120 • Introduction to Literature • Mrs. Organ

  2. The Importance of Family • Chinese people put their family in a very important position. • They regard it as a means to keep the family blood stream continuously running. And the running family blood stream maintains the life of the whole nation. That is why children production and breeding in China becomes a focus of all members of families. • There is a Chinese saying that of all who lack filial piety, the worst is who has no children.

  3. Pregnancy • The fact that Chinese people pay great attention to children production can be supported by many customary practices. Many traditional customs about preproduction of children are all based on the idea of children protection. • When a wife is found to be pregnant, people will say she "has happiness," and all her family members will feel overjoyed about it.

  4. Pregnancy • Throughout the whole period of pregnancy, both she and the fetus are well attended, so that the fetus is not hurt in any way and the new generation is born both physically and mentally healthy. • To keep the fetus in a good condition, the going-to-be mother is offered sufficient nutritious foods and some traditional Chinese medicines believed to be helpful to the fetus.

  5. Birth of Baby • When the baby is born, the mother is required to "zuoyuezi" or stay in bed for a month in order to recover from the fatigue. In this month, she is advised to stay at home and not to go outdoors. Cold, wind, dirty air, and tiredness are said to exert bad effect on her health and thus her later life.

  6. Children

  7. Importance of Sons • Needed to carry on the family name • Needed to care for the elderly family members • Needed to “run the land…” • Girl babies were often euthanized as a result of poverty/population control measures. • To date, there are significantly higher number of boys than girls born in China. Ultrasound is used to selectively abort girl babies as a result of China’s current one child policy.

  8. One Child Policy • The one-child policy is the population control policy (or planned birth policy) of the People’s Republic of China. • The Chinese government introduced the policy in 1979 to alleviate the social and environmental problems of China. The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the issues it raises; because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented; and because of concerns about negative economic and social consequences.

  9. The policy is enforced at the provincial level through fines that are imposed based on the income of the family and other factors. However, there are still many citizens that continue to have more than one child, despite this policy. In Feb. of 2008 Chinese Government official Wu Jianmin said that the one-child policy would be reconsidered during the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March 2008, but at that time a representative of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission said that the policy would remain in place for at least another decade.

  10. Naming a Newborn • Another custom is to find the newborn baby's Eight Characters (in four pairs, indicating the year, month, day and hour of a person's birth, each pair consisting of one Heavenly Stem and one Earthly Branch, formerly used in fortune-telling) and the element in the Eight Characters. • It is traditionally believed in China that the world is made up of five principal elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. • A person's name is to include an element that he lacks in his Eight Characters. If he lacks water, for example, then his name is supposed to contain a word like river, lake, tide, sea, stream, rain, or any word associating with water. If he lacks metal, then he is to be given a word like gold, silver, iron, or steel.

  11. One-Month Celebration • The first important event for the newly born baby is the one-month celebration. In Buddhist or Taoist families, on the morning of the baby's 30th day, sacrifices are offered to the gods so that the gods will protect the baby in his subsequent life.

  12. Birthdays • Traditionally, Chinese people do not pay a lot of attention to birthdays until they are 60 years old. The 60th birthday is regarded as a very important point of life and therefore there is often a big celebration. After that, a birthday celebration is held every ten years, that is the 70th, the 80th, etc, until the person's death. Generally, the older the person is, the greater the celebration occasion is.

  13. Age • The Chinese traditional way to count the age is different from the Western way. In China, people take the first day of the Chinese New Year in lunar calendar as the starting point of a new age. No matter in which month a child is born, he is one year old, and one more year is added to his age as soon as he enters the New Year. So what may puzzle a Westerner is that a child is two years old when he is actually two days or two hours old. This is possible when the child is born on the last day or hour of the past year.

  14. Funeral Ceremony • There are two main traditions that are observed: • 1. The funeral ceremony, which traditionally lasts over 49 days, the first seven days being the most important. Prayers are said every seven days for 49 days if the family can afford it. If the family is in poor circumstances, the period may be shortened to from 3 to 7 days. Usually, it is the responsibility of the daughters to bear the funeral expenses. The head of the family should be present for, at least the first and, possibly the second, prayer ceremony. The number of ceremonies conducted is dependent on the financial situation of the family. The head of the family should also be present for the burial or the cremation.

  15. Funeral Ceremony • 2. In the second tradition, the prayer ceremony is held every 10 days. The initial ceremony and three succeeding periods of ten days until the final burial or cremation. • After 100 days a final prayer ceremony is conducted, but such a ceremony is optional and not as important as the initial ceremonies.

  16. Closing Thoughts for Discussion Consider the treatment of girls and women throughout their lives in China… Birth – Childhood – Adulthood – Death How did Tan have to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s Chinese upbringing?