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Cultural Differences between North and South China

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China (the People’s Republic of China PRC), is a unitary independent state in East Asia and
the world’s most populated country, having population of around 1.404 billion
that overs approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers, spans 62
degrees of longitude and 49 degrees of latitude. China is an ancient, mystifying, striking and beautiful land which is
always tempting to adventurous foreign visitors. A broad selection of terrain
and climate forms its abundant natural attractions. Having a variety of
resources, animals, plants, and minerals, the land has support countless
generations of Chinese people. 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 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.


China has a variety of
temperature and rainfall zones, including continental monsoon areas. In winter
most areas become cold and dry, in summer hot and rainy. Most
of the country lies in the northern temperate zone, which is characterized by
warm climate and distinct seasons, being suitable for occupancy.


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 ?).

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

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. 

Ürümqi, is a city of three million population and
is the largest city in the world farthest from the sea. The average temperature
here mainly goes from -13 °C in January to 25 °C in July; in summer, it can
sometimes exceed 40 °C, while in winter it can plunge to -30 °C . Due to the
proximity to the Tian Shan Range, precipitation is more frequent than in other
places of the area, but it remains scarce due to the low moisture available,
and it doesn’t reach 250 mm (10 in) per year. Spring and autumn are the best
times to visit the city. 

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

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.


Guangzhou has a relatively recent history of almost two
centuries that is related to its importance for foreign trade. Guangzhou is
best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest
and largest trade fair in
China. For the last three years 2013–2015, Forbes have ranked Guangzhou to be the
best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.

Guangzhou weather is generally warm and humid all year round
without a clear distinction of seasons. With a moist subtropical monsoon
climate, Guangzhou is distinguished by warm winters, hot summers, little frost
and snow, as well as sufficient rain and sunshine.


Tips for travelers to visit South China:

? It is suitable to visit all year

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

? 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.  





Monsoon winds, caused by differences in the heat-absorbing capacity of the
continent and the ocean, dominate the climate. During the summer, the East Asian Monsoon carries warm and moist air from the south and delivers the
vast majority of the annual precipitation in much of the country. On the
contrary, the anticyclone of
Siberian dominates during winter, giving rise to cold and comparatively dry
conditions. The advance and retreat of the monsoons account in large degree for
the timing of the rainy season throughout the country. 


In China, precipitation changes
a lot from place to place and varies along with the seasons. The rainy season
begins earlier in the south and lasts for a longer time, from May to October.
In the north, the rainy season lasts for a shorter period of time,
predominantly in July and August. Generally speaking, most parts are rainy in
summer and autumn and dry in winter and spring. The
annual total of few areas along the southeastern coast acounts to more than 80
inches (2,000 mm). Farther north, in the Huai River valley, the annual rainfall
decreases to some 35 inches (880 mm). In Huang He, only 20 to 25 inches (500 to
650 mm) falls per year. The Northeast generally receives more precipitation
than the North China Plain, with upwards of 40 or more inches falling in the
Changbai Mountains.



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, 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 Southgate
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


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.


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”.


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

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.




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



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




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

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


? 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.