About 10 years ago, after living in Taiwan all my life, I moved to America. I remember that at the beginning, visiting a friend’s house was a culture shock to me. From the moment I walked into the friend’s house, to the moment I said goodbye, I could tell there were many differences in comparison to my own culture. The greeting, gift-giving, conversation content, questions that were asked, the food and beverage, and the way goodbye was said, were all new to me on some level.
Chinese Culture and Taboos
Do you know the gift giving taboos in Chinese culture? This may surprise you! One of the taboos has to deal with the word a clock. In Chinese culture, clocks are not given as gifts. This is because the phrase “gifting a clock” is 送钟 (sòng zhōng), and it sounds the same as 送终 (sòng zhōng), which carries a connotation of death. 送终 means to finish all affairs of a funeral.
Do you know the table manners in Chinese culture? A meal is typically eaten family-style. One particular taboo is leaving the chopsticks standing vertically in a bowl of rice or other food. Any pair of stick-like objects pointing upwards resembles the incense sticks that some Asians use as offerings to deceased family members.
In this infographic, we’ve included detailed information about what to give during Chinese New year, weddings and birthdays. I also provide gift-giving taboos. I believe this infographic can help you better understand Chinese culture.