10 Fun Facts about China

August 8, 2022
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China is an ancient and large country, flourishing with rich history and surprising culture that many people do not know or learn about. But, if you are interested to start learning, you have come to the right place. Here are 10 fun facts about China:

  1. Chopsticks

Is your drawer in the kitchen still full of chopsticks from all the take-out you ordered during Covid, and you still don’t know how to use them? Well forget about eating with chopsticks, how about cooking with them? Chopsticks were originally invented 5000 years ago and were used by the ancient Chinese as cooking utensils, not for eating. So, you might want to throw yours away if you are not planning on using them. Also, every year, an estimated 60-80 billion disposable chopsticks are used in China, which is equivalent to about 20 million trees. Because of that, there is a current effort to encourage Chinese people to stop using wooden chopsticks, and start using reusable metal chopsticks instead.

  1. Pigs

In some cultures, pigs are considered unholy, but in Chinese tradition they are considered the opposite. A great example for Chinese love of pigs can be seen in the Chinese Character for house (jiā家), which is constructed of radicals that mean a pig (zhū猪) under a roof. In fact, the pig also received a place of honor in the Chinese zodiac wheel after coming in at 12th place in the “Great Race” held by the Jade emperor. So, it is no surprise to learn that over half of the world’s pig population today, reside in China.

  1. Panda bears

China is the provincial owner of all the panda bears in the world, including pandas that are currently in other countries. China’s love for pandas is so great, that in 1987 they opened the world’s largest Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Also, did you know that every panda born in the world is sent to China by FedEx? Yup, this is done to preserve and expand the panda gene pool.

  1. Riced ice cream

Rice has always been an integral component of Chinese cuisine, being a historic grain, rice has changed and grown over time, and has even been an important ingredient in many culinary discoveries that influenced our favorite dishes today. For example, ice cream in its first form was invented in China in the second century B.C., when it was frozen in the snow with a mixture of milk and rice. Today China offers ice cream in a variety of colors and flavors, from chocolate to pig floss, and even wasabi and green beans, the options are almost endless. When you visit, do not forget to find the closest ice cream parlor, and have a taste.

  1. Trains

In a country so large, trains are essential for traveling and doing business in China. To provide means of daily transportation for millions of Chinese, the government invested heavily in building and developing high-speed trains and railways. Railways can be seen all over China, and if you add their lengths altogether (121,000 km), they can circle the world three times!

  1. Ping Pong

Ping Pong is one of China’s most popular sports, and it has been a national sport in the country since 1950. So, it is no surprise, that out of 32 gold medal winners from the Olympics since 1988, 28 are Chinese. And if you’re wondering, the game doesn’t originate in China but in England, where it is called table tennis. Looks like the British knew how to enter the Chinese market correctly.

  1. Paper

A more well-known fact is that the Chinese invented paper, and when we say paper, we mean ALL kinds of paper. For instance, paper banknotes were invented in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.). The banknotes were relatively simple but were imprinted with a death penalty warning those who counterfeited them. But banknotes were not the only paper-related invention, A more relatable invention is the trustworthy toilet paper. The first evidence of the use of toilet paper is from the 9th century B.C, but its centrality gained momentum with the rise of a new imperial dynasty in the 14th century when the use of toilet paper was limited to the emperor and his family.

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  1. The sounds of a culture

The Chinese language has plenty of words that sound similar, so it is with no surprise that Chinese culture takes the meaning of words and their sound very seriously. For instance, the words ‘clock’ and ‘end’ in Chinese are both pronounced zhōng, and because of this, giving a Chinese person a clock as a gift is not a good idea. But this practice does not always surround bad luck, during many holidays in China, it is customary to eat fish, because the Chinese word for fish (yú鱼), sounds like the word for abundance and wealth (yú餘).

  1. Lucky numbers in China

There is great significance to the pronunciation of words when it comes to numbers too. Because of that, names of numbers resembling other Chinese words that signify luck are considered “good numbers”, for example, the numbers six (Liù六) and eight (Bā八). However, the number four (Sì四) is regarded as a “bad number”, because its pronunciation sounds like the word “death” (Sǐ 死). In fact, having a phone number with 514 in it is considered the worst, as saying 514 (Wǔ yāo sì) sounds like you are saying “I want to die” (Wǒ yào sǐ). So, next time you travel to China, don’t be surprised if you can’t find the 4th floor in the hotel elevator.

  1. Time zones

The size of China and the U.S. is roughly the same, but while the U.S. is divided into four time zones, China has only one. China used to have 5 different time zones, but since 1949 when the Communist Party came to power, one time zone was set according to Beijing time. Because of this, when you visit China’s western regions at certain times in the year, you can watch the sunrise at 10 am.

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