East vs West
chinese new year beijing road red lanterns

Cultural Differences: The Cultural Vacuum Of The West

China Steeped In Tradition

China is a country steeped in tradition.

There are so many traditions and cultural practices that happen in this country all year round.

Chinese New Year (新年) is one of those periods.

As I waded through the crowds on Beijing road on Chinese New Year, I was fascinated how scores of Chinese people carried ornamental, golden door archways (风车) in their hands.  The round wind catchers that spin when they catch the wind represent how luck and money will come constantly.

Greetings such as “恭喜发财” written in Chinese on the entrances to their doors or places of business are also practices by Chinese to welcome in prosperity.

China also celebrates with fireworks, crackers, the Chinese Dragon, red is worn on Chinese New Year, relatives eat together, adults will give kids red envelopes (红包) full of money, and most people will play Mahjong (麻将), gamble, or buy lottery tickets to herald in the New Year.

All these customs, traditions, loud music, and festivities culminate on New Year.

A Cultural Vacuum In The West

As a Westerner in China, I began to see that Australia in particular has a culture vacuum.

It would be very difficult for someone from such a culturally rich country to arrive to the shores of Australia and realize, “There is nothing here in terms of culture.”

As a Chinese person who immigrates to a country like Australia, it must be depressing to look at a new country like Australia and think, “This country has no culture.  You have beaches, you have thongs, you have Australia Day, but you don’t have people singing and dancing and celebrating the country, not even on Australia Day.  Australians just go to the beaches, watch sports, and have barbecues.”

That is one of the great things about China.  All year around, it is very lively (热闹), always with some kind of cultural festivity happening.

It is just not something that you can replicate in Australia.

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