Learning about China and Chinese Culture

I have found that all of our clients are interested in learning about Chinese culture and customs as well as learning to speak Chinese.

Chinese culture is rich and profound. It has the richest historical records. Chinese have been most historically-minded. Perhaps, China has more historical records than the whole world put together. This guess will not be far from truth. She has a great deal of historical records from the pre-Christian era, not to mention the matchless twenty-six history books of the imperial dynasties. She is not the home of Buddhism, but she boasts of the richest Buddhist scriptures.**

China is wonderous and awe-inspiring. It has a history of five thousand years. It is the only continuous ancient civilization. Other ancient civilizations have changed, discontinued, withered or perished. Why is it so enduring? Why is it so coherent, often sticking to itself, remaining undivided? Why is it so dynamic, always able to revive, regenerate and revitalise itself? Why is it an immortal phoenix able to rise again on its ashes? These are enduring questions. Nobody can give a complete answer, full stop. They will stimulate intellect, provoke interest, engage investigation.**

I have come to realize that even if I am reborn a thousand times in China I will never fully understand this awesome country and her people. Every day I learn something new that amazes me. How wonderful that my work as a consultant in China allows me to share my adventure with others.

Richard Ward

We spend time with our Clients talking about with them about Chinese culture and customs, presenting workshops as well as recommending resources for them.

We think that the best way to learn about Chinese culture, customs and language is to spend time in China.

**A Brief Introduction to Chinese Culture at Pasadena City College

Beijing, China – May 20, 2012

Wow, it has been a long time since my last post.

I am in Beijing now and have been here since February 10, 2012.

I returned to Canada last December for Christmas in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then I spent a a few weeks in Toronto.

Double Happiness Symbol

Double Happiness Symbol

The symbol of Double Happiness is an expression that the bride and the groom are to be united, as well as their families.

The “Double Happiness” symbol is usually found displayed at Chinese wedding celebrations whether in a traditional or more contemporary setting.

The Double Happiness symbol is composed of two standard Chinese characters. Each of the characters that denote happiness is written as “hsi” or “xi” in Mandarin. In the case of the Double Happiness sign, the two “XI” characters signify the happiness of the newlywed couple that are about to spend their lives together. Pronounced as “shuang-xi”, the sign generally stands for marital happiness.

Note that the Double Happiness sign is not used in regular Mandarin writing, but is only observed for marital union invitations and declarations.

The Story of “Doubled” Happiness

The story of the Double Happiness sign originates from a student’s journey during the Tang Dynasty. According to the story, a young man who was about to take a final examination but became ill on his way to the capital city. Fortunately he was helped by a herbalist doctor and his daughter. However, the girl did not just help him to heal she also made him fall in love with her.

Because the girl was in love with the young man, she wanted to make sure that the he was her perfect match. So before the boy left for the capital city, the girl wrote a part of a rhyming couplet on paper, with the hopes that the young man can find his perfect match.

At the examination, the young man was able to achieve first place. When the emperor came to assess the young man’s skill, he asked him to finish a couplet. Fortunately, the part of the couplet that the emperor gave the boy was the missing match to his love’s rhyme.

The boy recited the part of the couplet that the girl wrote for him. Pleased with the young man’s answer, the emperor made the young man one of his Ministers. But before taking his post, the young man went back to the girl and recited her couplet’s match.

Then they got happily married. During their traditional Chinese wedding, the couple wrote the character “XI” twice on a red piece of paper. They posted it on the wall and since then, that double “XI” became the Double Happiness sign, symbolizing the “doubled” happiness that the couple felt because of their union.

Dragon and Phoenix


    The most prominent of all Chinese marriage symbols is the pairing of a dragon (long 龙) and a phoenix (feng 凤) which represents love and a happy marriage.

    The dragon is the preeminent male or yang (阳) symbol and represents strength and the warmth of the sun.

    The phoenix, as you might expect, is the ultimate female or yin (阴) symbol.