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Chinese culture follow a number of conventions different from those of personal names in Western cultures. Most noticeably, a Chinese name is written with the family name (surname or last name) first and the given name next. For instance, the basketball player who is commonly called Yao Ming would be addressed as "Mr. Yao", not "Mr. Ming".
Note, however, that some Chinese people who emigrate to, or do business with, Western countries sometimes adopt a Westernized name by simply reversing the "surname-given-name" order to "given-name-surname" ("Ming Yao", to follow the previous example), or with a Western first name together with their surname, which is then written in the usual Western order with the surname last ("Fred Yao"). Other Chinese people sometimes take a combined name, consisting of Western first name, surname, and Chinese given name, in that order ("Fred Yao Ming"), mostly in Hong Kong, or in the order of Western first name, Chinese given name, and surname ("Fred Ming Yao").
Traditional naming schemes often followed a pattern of using generation names as part of a two-character given name; however, this is less used today, especially in Mainland China, where many given names use only one character. However, it is still the norm among the Chinese populations of Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
When generation names are used as part of a two-characters given name, it is generally inappropriate and can be confusing to refer to someone by the first part of their given name only which will generally be their generation name. Instead, the entire given name should be used. This should be the case regardless of whether the surname is used. For instance, referring to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Hsien or Hsien Lee would be confusing as this could just as easily refer to his brother. However, this does commonly occur in Western societies where the first part of the given name is frequently mistakenly used as the first name when the given name is not hypenated or adjoined.
In addition to the given name, many Chinese have various kinds of nicknames.
A meal in Chinese culture is typically seen as consisting of two or more general components: a carbohydrate source or starch, known as in the Chinese language, (zhushí Pinyin , lit. "main food", staple) - typically rice, noodles, or mantou (steamed buns), and accompanying dishes of vegetables, meat, fish, or other items, known as (cŕiPinyin , lit. "vegetable") in the Chinese language. This cultural conceptualization is in some ways in contrast to cuisines of Northern Europe and the USA, where meat or animal protein is often considered the main dish, and analogous to the one of most Mediterranean cuisines, based typically on wheat-derived components like pasta or cous cous.
Rice is a critical part of much of Chinese cuisine. However, in many parts of China, particularly northern China, wheat-based products including noodles and steamed buns (mantou) predominate, in contrast to southern China where rice is dominant. Despite the importance of rice in Chinese cuisine, at extremely formal occasions, it is sometimes the case that no rice at all will be served; in such a case, rice would only be provided when no other dishes remained, or as a token dish at the end of the meal. Soup is usually served at the start of a meal and at the end of a meal in Southern China.
Chopsticks are the primary eating utensil in Chinese culture for solid foods, while soups and other liquids are enjoyed with a wide, flat-bottomed spoon (traditionally made of ceramic). It is reported that wooden chopsticks are losing their dominance due to recent logging shortfalls in China and East Asia; many Chinese eating establishments are considering a switch to a more environmentally sustainable eating utensil, such as plastic or bamboo chopsticks. More expensive materials used in the past included ivory and silver. On the other hand, disposable chopsticks made of wood/bamboo have all but replaced reusable ones in small restaurants.
In most dishes in Chinese cuisine, food is prepared in bite-sized pieces (e.g. vegetable, meat, doufu), ready for direct picking up and eating. Traditionally, Chinese culture considered using knives and forks at the table "barbaric" due to fact that these implements are regarded as weapons. It was also considered ungracious to have guests work at cutting their own food. Fish are usually cooked and served whole, with diners directly pulling pieces from the fish with chopsticks to eat, unlike in some other cuisines where they are first filleted. This is because it is desired for fish to be served as fresh as possible.
In a Chinese meal, each individual diner is given his or her own bowl of rice while the accompanying dishes are served in communal plates (or bowls) that are shared by everyone sitting at the table, a communal service known as "family style" in Western nations. In the Chinese meal, each diner picks food out of the communal plates on a bite-by-bite basis with their chopsticks. This is in contrast to western meals where it is customary to dole out individual servings of the dishes at the beginning of the meal. Many non-Chinese are uncomfortable with allowing a person's individual utensils (which might have traces of saliva) to touch the communal plates; for this hygienic reason, additional serving spoons or chopsticks (??, lit. common/public/shared chopsticks) may be made available. The food selected is often eaten together with some rice either in one bite or in alternation.
Vegetarianism is not uncommon or unusual in China, though, as is the case in the West, is only practiced by a relatively small proportion of the population. The Chinese vegetarian does not eat a lot of tofu, unlike the stereotypical impression in the West. Most Chinese vegetarians are Buddhists. Non-Chinese eating Chinese cuisine will note that a large number of popular vegetable dishes may actually contain meat (usually pork), as meat chunks or bits have been traditionally used to flavor dishes. Chinese Buddhist cuisine has many true vegetarian dishes that contain no meat at all.
A sweet dish is usually served at the end of a formal dinner, such as sliced fruits or a sweet soup (??, lit. sweet water) which is served warm.
In traditional Chinese culture, cold beverages are believed to be harmful to digestion of hot food, so items like ice-cold water or soft drinks are traditionally not served at meal-time. Besides soup, if any other beverages are served, they would most likely be hot tea or hot water. Tea is believed to help in the digestion of greasy foods. Despite this tradition, nowadays beer and soft drinks are popular accompaniment with meals. A popular combo in many small restaurants in parts of China is hot pot served with cold beer, a combination known as ???(Pinyin: leng3 dan4 bei1, literally: cold and bland cup, despite being strongly flavoured), which is the very opposite of what traditional wisdom would admonish.
Often, Chinese food found outside China can range from the authentic, or food that has been adapted for local tastes, to something that is newly created. For example, chop suey does not exist in Chinese restaurants in China.
Chinese marriage became a custom between 402-221 B.C. Despite China's long history and many different geographical areas, there are basically six rituals, generally known as the three letters and six etiquette.
* Proposal: When an unmarried boy's parents find a potential daughter-in-law. They then located a matchmaker whose job was to assuage the conflict of interests and general embarrassments on the part of two families largely unknown to each other when discussing the possibility of marriage.
* Birthday Matching: If the potential daughter-in-law's family did not object to the proposal the matchmaker would then compare the couples' birthdates. If according to Chinese astrology the couple is compatible they would then proceed to the next step.
* Bride Price (Betrothal Gifts): At this point the bridegroom's family arranges for the matchmaker to present bride price (betrothal gifts), including the betrothal letter, to the bride's family.
* Presenting Wedding Gifts: Wedding gifts would vary widely depending on local customs and family wealth. Food and other delicacies were typical gifts.
* Picking the Wedding Day: The Chinese calendar is consulted for an auspicious day.
* Wedding Ceremony: The final ritual is the actual wedding ceremony where bride and groom become a married couple, which consists of many elaborate parts o Wedding Procession: The wedding procession from bride's home would march to the groom's home. The procession consists of a traditional band, the bride's sedan, the maids of honor's sedans (if there are maids of honor), and bride's dowry in the forms other than money. A traditional Chinese wedding procession A traditional Chinese wedding procession o Welcoming the Bride: The wedding procession of the bride's family stops at the door of the groom's home. There are ceremonies to be followed to welcome the bride and her wedding procession into the groom's home, which varies for locale to locale. o Actual Wedding Ceremonies: Equivalent to exchanging vows in the west, the couple would pay respect to the heaven and earth, paying respect to the groom's parents, paying respect to each other. o Wedding banquet In Chinese society, the wedding banquet is known as xi-jiu (??, literally joyful wine), and is sometimes far more important than the wedding itself. There are ceremonies such as bride presenting wines or tea to parents, spouse, and guests.
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