and Cultural Differences between North and South China
China, an ancient,
mysterious and beautiful land, is always appealing to adventurous foreign
visitors. As the third largest country in the world occupying an area of
9,600,000 sq km, it spans 62 degrees of longitude and 49 degrees of latitude. A
wide variety of terrain and climate shape its numerous natural attractions.
Abundant in a variety of resources, plants, animals, and minerals, the land has
nurtured countless generations of Chinese people. As the progress going on in China, it is assumed that it may become the
world’s largest economic leader in 10-15 years. In this case, it is
advantageous to have some interesting facts about this huge country.
China has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of
fertile lowlands and foothills and is the location of most of China’s
agricultural output and human population. The southern areas of the country
consist of hilly and mountainous terrain. The west and north of the country are
dominated by sunken basins and towering massifs.
China has a variety of
temperature and rainfall zones, including continental monsoon areas. In winter
most areas become cold and dry, in summer hot and rainy. In terms of temperature, the nation can be sectored from south to
north into equatorial, tropical, sub-tropical, warm-temperate, temperate,
and cold-temperate zones; in terms of moisture, it can be sectored
from southeast to northwest into humid (32 percent of land area), semi-humid
(15 percent), semi-arid (22 percent). Most
of the country lies in the northern temperate zone, which is characterized by
warm climate and well-defined seasons, being suitable for habitation.
The line that generally divides China
into fairly distinct northern and southern cultural zones runs along the
Qinling Mountains from Sichuan through southern Shaanxi province eastward along
the Huai River to the Pacific. The south is warmer and wetter, due mainly to
the fact that the summer monsoons, moving southeast to northwest, deposit
most of their moisture before reaching this line. The North China Plain is
Given the size and
varied landscape of the country, there is no one time in the year i.e favorable weather conditions changes across the
country, especially in winter, stem from the cold weather in Siberia and the
Mongolian Plateau, leading to a huge temperature difference between south (0 ? and above) and north (well below 0 ?).
the summer except for a few remote areas, the country is almost all high
temperature, temperature difference between the north and south is not big. The
climate of China is particularly dominated by dry season and wet monsoon, having
considerable differences between winter and summer temperatures. The northern
winds that come from high latitudes in winter are usually cold and dry. However,
in the summer, the south winds that blow in the low latitudes are warm and
Climate in North China
China is a huge
country, and has a great variety of climates because of tremendous differences in latitude, longitude, and altitude, ranging from tropical in the far south to subarctic in the far north and alpine in the higher elevations of the Tibetan Plateau.
Provinces included: Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing,
Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia
Climate characteristics: Most of the
northern parts of China are of temperate continental climate, except some areas
are of plateau climate. Therefore, it is bitterly cold in winter and hot in
summer, with a large temperature difference between winter and summer and even
between day and night. It is lack of rainfall, and the rainy days are mainly in
For destinations such as Xinjiang (Urumqi) and Inner Mongolia
(Hohhot), summer is dry and sweltering while winter is formidably cold.
Sandstorms sometimes occur in April in North China, especially in the Inner Mongolia
and Beijing area.
Ürümqi, a city of three million inhabitants is
the largest city in the world farthest from the sea. Here the average
temperature goes from -13 °C in January to 25 °C in July; in summer, it can
sometimes exceed 40 °C, while in winter it can plunge to -30 °C . Due to the
proximity to the Tian Shan Range, precipitation is more frequent than in other
places of the area, but it remains scarce due to the low moisture available,
and it doesn’t reach 250 mm (10 in) per year. Spring and autumn are the best
times to visit the city.
Tips for travelers to visit North China:
? Normally, late summer and autumn is
best time to visit, with mild climate and stunning landscape (except Harbin
where the annual International Ice and Snow Festival is held in winter).
? You may prepare with a gauze mask in
case of sandstorms or hazy weather.
Climate in the South China
Provinces included: Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, Shanghai,
Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Fujian, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi,
Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau, hainan, Taiwan
parts of South China are of tropical subtropical monsoon climate, with high
temperature and ample rainfall in summer and mild weather and little rainfall
in winter. The summer heat and
humidity can be very uncomfortable. Typhoons are frequent here and may bring
strong wind and very heavy rain for a few days at a time to the coastal
regions. These are most frequent from July to October.
Destinations such as Guangxi (Guilin)
and Guangdong (Guangzhou and Shenzhen) Provinces, the
winter days are short and comparatively comfortable. Hot and humid season is
longer than other parts since April to October as usual. Destinations like
Kunming, Guiyang and Dali are mild throughout the year.
Guangzhou has a comparatively recent history of two centuries
related to its importance for foreign trade. Guangzhou is best known for its
annual Canton Fair, the oldest
and largest trade fair in
China. For the three consecutive years 2013–2015, Forbes ranked Guangzhou as
the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.
Guangzhou weather is generally warm and humid all year round
without a clear division of seasons. With a humid subtropical monsoon
climate, Guangzhou is characterized by warm winters, hot summers, little frost
and snow, as well as sufficient rain and sunshine.
Tips for travelers to visit South China:
? It is suitable to visit all year
?The rainy season of most of the parts
runs from May to August, so bring with adequate rain gear, clothes and
? Typhoons frequently occur in the
southeast coast (destinations such as Shanghai, Hangzhou, Fujian, Guangdong)
between July and September, so you may keep my eye on the weather in case
anything unexpected happening to your planned China tour.
Monsoon winds, caused by differences in the heat-absorbing capacity of the
continent and the ocean, dominate the climate. During the summer, the East Asian Monsoon carries warm and moist air from the south and delivers the
vast majority of the annual precipitation in much of the country. Conversely,
the Siberian anticyclone dominates during winter, bringing cold and comparatively dry
conditions. The advance and retreat of the monsoons account in large degree for
the timing of the rainy season throughout the country.
Precipitation in China
varies a lot from place to place and changes along with the seasons. The rainy
season begins earlier in the south and lasts for a longer time, from May to
October. In the north, the rainy season lasts for a shorter period of time,
predominantly in July and August. Generally speaking, most parts are rainy in
summer and autumn and dry in winter and spring. The
annual total of certain areas along the southeastern coast amounts to more than
80 inches (2,000 mm). Farther north, in the Huai River valley, the annual
rainfall decreases to some 35 inches (880 mm). In the lower reaches of the
Huang He, only 20 to 25 inches (500 to 650 mm) falls per year. The Northeast
generally receives more precipitation than the North China Plain, with upwards
of 40 or more inches falling in the Changbai Mountains.
Chinese have long had different self-awareness and
regional stereotypes in South China and North China. There are many basic
things, such as geographical environment, language, history, cuisine, customs,
traditions, culture and many other stereotypes that divide China into two
parts. This condtion is quite known and remained therefor 800 years.
According to the
World Bank About, about 1.4 billion people live
in China, , representing 56 ethnic minority groups. The largest group is the
Han Chinese, with about 900 million people. Other groups include the Tibetans,
the Mongols, the Manchus, the Naxi, and the Hezhen, which is smallest group,
with fewer than 2,000 people.
Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate
College in London says “Significantly,
individuals within communities create their own culture,”. Culture
includes religion, food, style, language, marriage, music, morals and many
other things that make up how a group acts and interacts.
the Council on Foreign Relations, the Chinese Communist Party
that rules the nation is officially atheist, though it is gradually becoming
more tolerant of religions, Currently, there are only five official religions.
Any religion other than Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism
are illegal, even though the Chinese constitution states that people are
allowed freedom of religion. The gradual tolerance of religion has only started
to progress in the past few decades. About a quarter of the people practice
Taoism and Confucianism and other traditional religions. There are also small
numbers of Buddhists, Muslims and Christians. Although numerous Protestant and
Catholic ministries have been active in the country since the early 19th
century, they have made little progress in converting Chinese to these
According to Mount Holyoke College. There are seven major groups of
dialects of the Chinese language, which each have their own variations,
Mandarin dialects are spoken by 71.5 percent of the population, followed by Wu
(8.5 percent), Yue (also called Cantonese; 5 percent), Xiang (4.8 percent), Min
(4.1 percent), Hakka (3.7 percent) and Gan (2.4 percent).
Jerry Norman, a
former professor of linguistics at the University of Washington and author of
“Chinese (Cambridge Language Surveys)” (Cambridge
University Press, 1988) says,
“Chinese is rather more like a language
family than a single language made up of a number of regional forms,”
He wrote further;
“The Chinese dialectal complex is in many
ways analogous to the Romance language family in Europe. To take an extreme
example, there is probably as much difference between the dialects of Peking
Beijing and Chaozhou as there is between Italian and French.”
the Order of the President of the People’s Republic of China, the
official national language of China is P?t?nghuà, a type of Mandarin spoken in
the capital Beijing, Many Chinese are also fluent in English.
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chinese art is greatly
influenced by the country’s rich spiritual and mystical history as many
sculptures and paintings depict spiritual figures of Buddhism,
Many musical instruments are integral to Chinese culture,
including the flute-like xun and the guqin, which is in the zither
Ancient Chinese were
writers and philosophers — particularly during the Ming and
Qing dynasties — and that is reflected in the country’s rich
archaeologists discovered detailed paintings in a 1,400-year-old tomb in China
and wrote in an article recently published in a 2017 issue of the journal
Chinese Archaeology. Ancient Tomb with ‘Blue Monster’ Mural
Discovered in China that,
“The murals of
this tomb had diversified motifs and rich connotations, many of which cannot be
found in other tombs of the same period”.
Among the main styles of Chinese cooking are Cantonese, which
features stir-fried dishes, and Szechuan, which relies heavily on use of
peanuts, sesame paste and ginger and is known for its spiciness.
Rice is not only a
major food source in China; it is also a major element that helped grow their
society, according to “Pathways to Asian
Civilizations: Tracing the Origins and Spread of Rice and Rice Cultures,”
an 2011 article in the journal Rice by Dorian Q. Fuller. The Chinese word for
rice is fan, which also means “meal,” and it is a
staple of their diet, as are bean sprouts, cabbage and scallions. Tofu is a
main source of protein for the Chinese because they do not consume a lot of
meat — occasionally pork or chicken —
One significant fact to mention is that the north and south
were not culturally divided by accident but
there are several explanations that lie in geographical,
climate-related, social, religious, trade, and
political reasons. First, the distinct geographies played a major role in the
separation and despite migrations between both the north and the south, the
geographic boundaries that separate each act as almost physical markers for
culture as well as populations.
The largest festival — also called the Spring Festival —
marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. It falls between mid-January and
mid-February and is a time to honor ancestors.. The holiday is marked with
fireworks and parades featuring dancers dressed as dragons.
Differences in North and South China
There are quite pronounced differences
in the personalities and mannerisms, broadly speaking, of Northern and Southern
Chinese. Northerners are more frank, more outspoken, more gregarious, more
inclined to abstraction, and perhaps somewhat more quarrelsome and egoistic.
Southerners, by contrast, are more reserved, more circumspect, less direct, and
more apt to draw clearer in-group/out-group distinctions.
According to Yan Zhitui, there is almost diametrical
opposition culturally between these two regions, especially socially. He
further states that when southerners receive guests, they do not go out to
greet them or salute them, instead they clasp hands when they finally meet up
with one another, but when in the company of those with the same customs, there
is a great deal of affection and warmth. This occurs again when the southerners
say goodbye to one another, not with the easy smiles and casual style of those
in the north, but with tears and emotion showing that the south has more
emphasis on emotion and emotional connections with people.
However in the north, despite the more casual attitude and
lack of stringent formality, there is more of an emotional distance. In that
respect, it should be noted that salutes, which are related to military
regimes, are used in the more militarily-inclined north.
Another important diffrence that emerges in the northern
versus southern cultures is the appearance of great civility and refinement. In
the north where all indications are that people are less emotional and a bit
more distant, they do not generally strive to appear wealthy, refined, or
something they are not. In the south, however, there is a much greater emphasis
on the projection of refinement. As Yan Zhitui notes, “In the South, even the
poor concentrated on their external appearance; their clothes and carriages had
to be expensive and smart even if that meant their wives and children suffered
hunger and cold” whereas in the north, they did prefer to have “fine silks
and jewels” but they are fine with letting other markers of refinement
such as horses and servants.
The New Year’s Day
In the northside of the country, New Year’s Eve
dumplings are utiilized on New Year’s Day. Eating dumplings is considered to be
a sign of prosperity because of the curved shape of dumplings that resembles
traditional gold ingots.
On the contrary, southerners prefer to make a cake
made up of glutinous rice, as well as a sweet filling, frequently a soup of
The second day of New Year
In the north, a familiar saying is that the first day
of the year to eat dumplings, the next day to eat noodles. The smooth texture
of the noodles means a bright year ahead.
In the meantime, the second day of the New Year is
also known as the “Grand Opening Powder” grand feast in the southern
Cantonese, especially in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, where it can be eaten at home
or with friends or colleagues.
Red envelopes are known in Mandarin as “red
envelopes,” which, according to Cantonese, is a gift from senior family
members to unmarried junior high school students. In the north, the amount of
money given is often large. 100 yuan (15 US dollars) is generally the minimum
amount, and very close people, such as grandchildren, may receive an amount of
more than 1,000 yuan (150 US dollars).
In the South, the number of red envelopes is usually
small, starting around 10 yuan. However, northerners often give red envelopes
only to their families, while recipients in the south have much wider social
circles. Etiquette rules should give red envelopes to regular service workers
such as janitors, cleaners, security guards, hairdressers Wait. As mentioned
above, the boss is also expected to send red envelopes to employees in the
During Chinese New Year, folk dances are usually held
on the streets. Dance of lions and dragons is very common in south China,
especially in Hong Kong. Lion dance is performed by two dancers hidden in lion
costumes. More spectacular dragon dance requires a group of multiple dancers to
manipulate a colorful, undulating dragon body.
In the northern provinces, you can expect to see
dancing dancers performing dance and gong dance, as well as dancing and sports
skills on stilts.
In the South, families have traditionally visited
temples during the New Year to respect their ancestors. In addition to lighting
incense blessings in the coming year, they can also bring food and
In contrast, Northerner’s custom is relatively simple.
On New Year’s Eve, northerners burn incense and paper for their ancestors in
their own home. Occasionally, they will knelt in front of the ancestral monuments,
placing some food.
Finally, northerners and southerners have slightly
different decoration habits. In the north, it is not uncommon to make
complicated, beautiful paper cuts with red paper. On the other hand,
southerners prefer to show potted kumquat and miniature orange trees, as well
as flowers such as orchids and peonies.