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Climate, Cultural Differences between North and South China

China is the world’s most populated country, having population of around 1.404 billion covering approx. 9,600,000 sq km. China is an ancient, mystifying, striking and beautiful land which is always tempting to adventurous foreign visitors. The way China is doing progress, it is implicited that it may become the world’s largest economic leader in 10-15 years. In this case, it is advantageous to have some interesting facts about this huge country.

China’s climate

China has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills and is the location of most of China’s agricultural output and human population. The southern parts of China consist of hilly, mountainous terrain. The west and north of the country are dominated by sunken basins  and towering massifs.

 

The line that generally divides China into fairly distinctive northern and southern cultural zones runs along the Qinling Mountains from Sichuan through southern Shaanxi province eastward along the Huai River to the Pacific. Due to the summer monsoons, south is generally warm and wet. This is principally due to the fact that when the summer monsoons move from southeast to northwest, they deposit most of their moisture before reaching this line. The North China plain is relatively arid.

 

Given the size and varied landscape of the country, there is no specific time in the year i.e weather conditions changes across the whole land, especially in winter, stem from the cold weather in Siberia and the Mongolian Plateau, causing a huge temperature differentiation between south (0 ? and above) and north (well below 0 ?).

However, the summer except for a few remote areas, the country is almost all high temperature, temperature difference between the north and south is not huge. The China’s climate is particularly dominated by dry season and wet monsoon, having considerable differences between winter and summer temperatures. The northern winds that come from high latitudes in winter are usually cold and dry. However, in the summer, the south winds that blow in the low latitudes are warm and humid.

Climate in North China

China is a huge country, and has a great deal of climates because of tremendous differences in latitude, longitude, and altitude, ranging from tropical in the far south to subarctic in the distant north and alpine in the higher elevations of the Tibetan Plateau.

Provinces included: Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia

 

Climate characteristics: Most of the northern parts of China are of temperate continental climate, except some areas are of plateau climate. Therefore, it is bitterly cold in winter and hot in summer, with a large temperature difference between winter and summer and even between day and night. There is scarcity of rainfall, and the rainy days are mainly in summer.   

For destinations such as Xinjiang (Urumqi) and Inner Mongolia (Hohhot), summer is dry and sweltering while winter is formidably cold. Sandstorms sometimes occur in April in North China, especially in the Inner Mongolia and Beijing parts. 

Tips for travelers to visit North China:  

? Normally, late summer and autumn is best time to visit, with mild climate and stunning landscape (except Harbin where the annual International Ice and Snow Festival is held in winter). 

? You may prepare with a gauze mask in case of sandstorms or hazy weather. 

 

Climate in the South China

Provinces included:

The following provinces are included in south region of China.

Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau, hainan, Taiwan 

Climate characteristics: 

Most parts of South China are of tropical subtropical monsoon climate, with high temperature and ample rainfall in summer and mild weather and little rainfall in winter. In summer season, the heat and humidity can be unbearable causing the visitors to feel very uncomfortable. Typhoons are commonly found here that can bring strong wind and very heavy rain which can last for a few days at a time to the coastal regions. These are most frequent from July to October.

 

Destinations such as Guangxi (Guilin) and Guangdong (Guangzhou and Shenzhen) Provinces, the winter days are short and comparatively comfortable. Hot and humid season is longer than other parts since April to October as usual. Destinations like Kunming, Guiyang and Dali are mild throughout the year.

 

Tips for travelers to visit South China: 

? It is suitable to visit all year round. 

?The rainy season of most of the parts runs from May to August, so bring with adequate rain gear, clothes and shoes. 

? Typhoons frequently occur in the southeast coast (destinations such as Shanghai, Hangzhou, Fujian, Guangdong) between July and September, so you may keep my eye on the weather in case anything unexpected happening to your planned China tour.  

 

 

 

 

 

China’s culture

 

Chinese have long had different self-awareness and regional stereotypes in South and North China. There seem to be many basic things, such as geographical environment, history, language, cuisine, traditions, culture and many other stereotypes that has divided China into two halves. This condtion is quite known and is sustained therefor 800 years.

 

According to the World Bank, about 1.4 billion people that live in China, they represent 56 ethnic minority groups. Out of these groups,  the largest group is the Han Chinese, with about 900 million people. Other groups comprise the Tibetans, the Mongols, the Manchus, the Naxi, and the Hezhen, having fewer than 2,000 people so its the smallest group of all. 

Cristina De Rossi,who is an anthropologist at Barnet and South gate College in London says “Significantly, individuals within communities create their own culture,”. Culture basically includes religion, style, language, food, marriage, music, morals and all the other things that are responsible for making up a criteria of how a group acts and interacts with eachother.

Religion

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Chinese Communist Party that set laws of the nation is officially atheist, although it is gradually becoming more liberal of religions, Recently, there are only five official religions. Apart from Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism, other religions are illegal, although the Chinese constitution states that people have given freedom of religion. The gradual tolerance of religion has only started to evolve in the past few decades. Almost a quarter of the people practice Taoism and Confucianism and other traditional religions. Also there are small numbers of Buddhists, Muslims and Christians. Even though numerous Protestant and Catholic ministries have been found to be active in the country since the early 19th century, but they have made little progress in converting Chinese to these religions.

Language

There are seven major groups of dialects of the Chinese language, which each have their own variations, says Mount Holyoke College. Mandarin language is generally spoken by 71.5 percent of the inhabitants. It is further followed by Wu (8.5 percent), Yue (also called Cantonese; 5 percent), Xiang (4.8 percent), Min (4.1 percent), Hakka (3.7 percent) and Gan (2.4 percent). 

 

Jerry Norman, author of “Chinese Cambridge Language Surveys” (Cambridge University Press, 1988) says,

 

 “Chinese is quite more like a language family than a single language made up of a number of regional forms,”

He further wrote;

 

 “The Chinese dialectal complex is in numerous ways comparable to the Romance language family in Europe. Like for example, there is certainly as much dissimilarity between the dialects of Peking Beijing and Chaozhou as there is between Italian and French.” 

 

According to the Order of the President of the People’s Republic of China, the official national language of China is P?t?nghuà, a type of Mandarin spoken in the capital Beijing. Numerous Chinese are also fluent in English. 

 

The arts

Chinese art is greatly inclined by the country’s rich spiritual and mystical history as many sculptures and paintings portray spiritual figures of Buddhism, says the Metropolitan Museum of Art,

Many musical instruments are vital to Chinese culture, together with the flute-like xun and the guqin, which is in the zither family. 

Chinese of the past were mostly writers and philosophers — chiefly during the Ming and Qing dynasties — and that is reflected in the country’s rich liturgical history.

Currently, an article recently published in a 2017 issue of the journal Chinese Archaeology. Ancient Tomb with ‘Blue Monster’ Mural Discovered in China, the archaeologists discovered detailed paintings in a 1,400-year-old tomb in China and mentioned that

“The murals of this tomb had diversified motifs and rich connotations, many of which cannot be found in other tombs of the same period”.

Food

Out of the major styles of Chinese cooking are Cantonese, which include stir-fried dishes, and Szechuan, a great deal of which relies on use of peanuts, sesame paste and ginger and is famous for its spiciness.

According to “Pathways to Asian Civilizations: Tracing the Origins and Spread of Rice and Rice Cultures,” an 2011 article in the journal Rice by Dorian Q. Fuller, Rice is not only a chief food source in China but it is also a chief element that helps in growing their society. ‘fan’ is a Chinese word for rice , which also means “meal,” and it is a staple food of their diet, so as bean sprouts, cabbage. Tofu is utilized as a main source of protein by the Chinese because they do not consume a lot of meat — sporadically pork or chicken —

 

Customs and celebrations

One important fact to mention is that, the north and south parts of the country were not culturally divided accidently but there are quite a lot of explanations that lie in geographical, climate-related, social, religious, and political reasons.

Spring Festival

The largest festival — also called the Spring Festival — marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. It falls between mid of January and mid of February and is celebrated to honor ancestors.. The holiday is celebrated with fireworks and parades featuring dancers dressed as dragons.

 

 

 

Culture Differences in North and South China

Broadly speaking, there are relatively pronounced differences in the personalities and mannerisms of Northern and Southern Chinese. Northerners are quite frank, more outspoken, more gregarious, and conceivably somewhat more quarrelsome and egoistic. On the other hand, Southerners, are more reserved, more circumspect, less direct, and more apt to draw clearer in-group/out-group distinctions.

Social interactions

According to Yan Zhitui, there is almost diametrical opposition culturally between these two regions, especially socially. He further states that when southerners receive guests, they do not go out to greet them or salute them, instead they clasp hands when they finally meet up with one another, but when in the company of those with the same customs, there is a great deal of affection and warmth. This occurs again when the southerners say goodbye to one another, not with the easy smiles and casual style of those in the north, but with tears and emotion showing that the south has more emphasis on emotion and emotional connections with people.

However in the north, despite the more casual attitude and lack of stringent formality, there is more of an emotional distance. On the conclusion, it be supposed that salutes, which are associated to military regimes, are used in the more militarily-inclined north.

Another important diffrence that emerges in the northern versus southern cultures is the appearance of great civility and refinement. In the north where all indications are that citizens are less emotional and a bit more distant, they do not generally strive to appear wealthy, refined, or something they are not. In the south, however, there is a much greater emphasis on the projection of refinement. As Yan Zhitui notes, “In the South, even the poor tries to concentrate on their external appearance; their clothes and carriages had to be expensive and smart even if that meant their wives and children suffered hunger and cold” whereas in the north, they did prefer to have “fine silks and jewels” but they are fine with letting other markers of refinement such as horses and servants.

 

The New Year’s Day

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, the food served as a dinner is one of the most momentous meal throughout the entire year, so it is very carefully choosen that what food should be served as a reunion dinner. In the northside of the country, New Year’s Eve dumplings are utiilized on New Year’s Day. Eating dumplings is considered to be a sign of prosperity because of the curved shape of dumplings that resembles traditional gold ingots.

On the contrary, southerners prefer to make a cake made up of glutinous rice, as well as a sweet filling, frequently a soup of sesame.

 

 

The second day of New Year

In the north, a familiar saying is that the first day of the year to eat dumplings, the next day to eat noodles. The smooth texture of the noodles means a bright year ahead.

In the meantime, the second day of the New Year is also known as the “Grand Opening Powder” grand feast in the southern Cantonese, especially in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, where it can be utilized at home or with friends.

Red envelope

In Mandarin, Red envelopes are recognized as “red envelopes”. According to Cantonese, it is a gift from senior family members to unmarried junior high school students. In the north, the amount of money given is often large. 100 yuan (15 US dollars) is generally the minimum amount, and very close people, such as grandchildren, may receive an amount of more than 1,000 yuan (150 US dollars).

 

In the South, the number of red envelopes is usually small, starting around 10 yuan. However, northerners often give red envelopes only to their families, while recipients in the south have much wider social circles. Etiquette rules should give red envelopes to regular service workers such as janitors, cleaners, security guards, hairdressers Wait. As mentioned above, the boss is also expected to send red envelopes to employees in the South.

 

 

 

Traditional dance

During Chinese New Year, folk dances are usually held on the streets. Dance of lions and dragons is very common in south China, especially in Hong Kong. Lion dance is performed by two dancers that are hidden in lion costumes. More spectacular dragon dance requires a group of multiple dancers to manipulate a colorful, undulating dragon body.

 

In the northern provinces, you can expect to see dancing dancers performing dance and gong dance, as well as dancing and sports skills on stilts.

Ancestor worship

In the South, families have traditionally visited temples during the New Year to respect their ancestors. In addition to lighting incense blessings in the coming year, they can also bring food and firecrackers.

In contrast, Northerner’s custom is relatively simple. On New Year’s Eve, they kneel in front of the ancestral monuments, placing some food.

 

? decoration

Finally, northerners and southerners have slightly different decoration habits. In the north, it is not uncommon to make complicated, beautiful paper cuts with red paper. On the other hand, southerners prefer to show potted kumquat and miniature orange trees, as well as flowers such as orchids and peonies.