China's Folk Culture

China's folk culture is especially rich for two reasons. First, she justly boasts a continued history for 5000 years. Second, she has 56 ethnic groups, each of which has its own rich tradition and folk culture.

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People's Republic of China (1949–1980)

Early in the People's Republic, Mao Zedong would inspire Chinese fashion with his own variant of the Zhongshan suit, which would be known to the west as Mao suit. Meanwhile, Sun Yat-sen's widow, Soong Ching-ling, popularised the cheongsam as the standard female dress. At the same time, old practices such as footbiding, which had been viewed as backwards and unmodern by both the Chinese as well as Westerners, were forbidden.
Around the Destruction of the "Four Olds" period in 1964, almost anything seen as part of Traditional Chinese culture would lead to problems with the Communist Red Guards. Items that attracted dangerous attention if caught in the public included jeans, high heels, Western-style coats, ties, jewelry, cheongsams, and long hair. These items were regarded as symbols of bourgeois lifestyle, that represented wealth. People had to avoid them or suffer serious consequences such as tortures and beatings by the guards. A number of these items were thrown out to the middle of the streets to embarrass the citizens.

Clothing in contemporary China (1990–Present)

Following the relaxation of communist clothing standards in the 1980s, Chinese fashion grew closer to that of the rest of East Asia. Contemporary urban clothing seemed to have developed an obsession with brand names. In major urban centres, especially Shanghai, an increased western look is preferred, and there is an emphasis on formal wear over casual wear for adults on the streets. Teenagers prefer brand names. Children usually wear clothes decorated with cartoon characters.

Some Folk Culture Traditions

Annotation of the Tibetan People about the Death

Spring Festival & Food

Funeral Customs

China's Popular Culture


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Since the beginning of the 1980's, Chinese music has been transformed from the revolutionary songs and "Model Operas" that dominated during red-est days of Red China to a very vibrant, if eclectic mix of music forms and genres. Some of it is pretty good, other stuff,'s still an interesting social factor.

There are two main currents in Chinese music of today, tongsu and yaogun. Tongsu is the dominant mainstream form, not always state-produced but invariably state-controlled. In substance, it resembles the suruppy "soft-pop" known as Canto-pop (music from Hong Kong, in Cantonese), albeit with Mandarin lyrics and thems more concerned with patriotism than the wuuuuv (and sex) that dominate Canto-pop. Tongsu music is written by a small handful of song-writers, and performed by an endless stream of singers who are selected more for appearance than singing ability and who primarily are members of song-and-dance troups, or gewutuan. The main dessimation of this music is by television (which in the early 1990s reached about 80% of the population and is now pretty much universal), through singing contests and fesitivals. Tapes of these are available as well, although most are just soundtracks from the festivals and in music stores are often crowded out by Gangtai (Hong Kong and Taiwan) Music.