What to Expect in Beijing

These Beijing facts had me standing with my mouth gaping open in the month I spent in Beijing. I hope  these Beijing facts fascinating will show you what to expect during a visit to the Chinese capital.

1. Chinese Split Pants

Pioneers in plastic reduction? Or just a cultural difference? Either way, get ready to see a lot of babies bottoms. These “split pants” are worn as an economical alternative to nappies, giving children the convenience of using the bathroom wherever they want. This was one of the odder Beijing facts I discovered on my visit.

2. Tofu

Chinese men have a softer look than western men because Tofu is largely prominent in China and Tofu contains Oestrogen.

3. Soybean Milk

Some people think the Chinese are taller because they drink a lot of Soybean milk, but actually they are so small! Most men aren’t much taller than me!

4. White is the colour worn at funerals

Specific rules are following during funerals as families often fear bringing bad luck if the rules are not honoured. This extends to the colour of dress for those attending a funeral. It is only the deceased’s spouse and children who are permitted to wear black since their sadness is thought to be the greatest.  Those attending the funeral who are not considered family are permitted to wear white to signify that their relationship to the deceased was not as strong as close family members.

5. Wedding dresses are commonly red instead of white

In Chinese culture, red is a sign of honour, success, loyalty, fertility and love. Considered a sacred colour, it is believed to drive evil spirits away on the big day.

6. Pale skin is a sign of beauty

So you may want to give that spray tan a miss, since Chinese culture holds pale skin is very high esteem. Western skin becomes an attraction in itself because the pale skin is perceived as a sign of richness. The idea is that if you are pale then it shows you do not have to work outside on the farms. This is why Geisha’s would paint their faces white.

7. Out with the old, in with the new

Traditionally, when a Women marries, her Husband’s family and her own children become her only family, she no longer has contact with her blood relatives including her mother and father.

8.Public holidays don’t come for free

If public holidays are given, then they must compensate those working days on a weekend. For example I am expected to work Saturday and Sunday this weekend because Monday and Tuesday of the following week is a public holiday. So really, they don’t get a day off at all!

9. Keep an open mind

When visiting China, even the major cities, some may never have seen a western person before. If you have blonde hair I guarantee someone will stroke it at least once, and if you have blue/green eyes then expect a lot of eye contact.

10. Eye Taping

Chinese culture tends to lean towards big eyes as being beautiful, so much so that they have adopted the cosmetic enhancement of ‘eye taping’ or in extreme cases gluing. Eyelid tape is a small, curved strip of medical tape used to form a crease on the eyelid.

Be sure to check out my 10 Tips for Bargaining in Beijing’s Markets and Survival Tips for the Beijing Subway

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