Interesting Chinese Trivia and Facts

Chinese Trivia and Interesting FactsInteresting Chinese Trivia and Facts

Here is Will and Guy's selection of fascinating information about China and its culture.

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Will and Guy's Twenty Amusing Facts and Trivia From ChinaChina Trivia and Interesting Facts

  1. 30% of Chinese adults still live with their parents.
  2. Approximately 200 million people in China live on less than $1 a day.
  3. Fish consumption in China is more than 3 times that in the United States. In China, the average person eats over 45 pounds of seafood each year.
  4. China produces 66% of the world's garlic, 15 billion pounds in 2009. Next are South Korea 6%, India 5%, and the USA 2.5%.
  5. There are 120 million internet users in China; but not everyone can contact all websites.
  6. China is the source of 68% of the worlds "pirated" goods.
  7. The hog, swine, or pig, was first domesticated almost 10,000 years ago in China.
  8. 20% of the world's population lives in China.
  9. Twenty percent of China's plants are used in medicine.
  10. China Day is October 1st.
  11. There are over 400 different varieties of kiwi fruit [Yangtao] in China where they have been used for over 700 years.
  12. According to insurance statistics: the most dangerous cars are green, and driven by the Chinese.
  13. When KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] first translated its advertising slogan "finger lickin' good" into Chinese, it came out as "eat your fingers off".
  14. Chopsticks originated in China almost 4,000 years ago, and the replacement of chopsticks for knives for eating at the table supposedly indicates the increased respect for the scholar over the warrior in Chinese society so Will and Guy have been told.
  15. Ketchup [Catsup] originated in China as a pickled fish sauce called ke-tsiap.
  16. The story of Cinderella may not originate with Disney, some say it originated in China around AD 860.
  17. 35 children are born every minute in China.
  18. A classic piece of trivia: The wheelbarrow was invented by a Chinese.
  19. About 700,000 engineers graduate annually from schools in China.
  20. There are about 42,000 characters in Chinese language.  An adult is only expected to know 5,000 of them.
    For example, 干净免费笑话,故事图片、视频剪辑 means clean free jokes, stories pictures and video-clips.
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The Significance of the Chinese Dragon

Chinese around the world, proudly proclaim themselves "Lung Tik Chuan Ren" which may be translated as Descendents of the Dragon. Unlike the negative energies associated with Western Dragons, most Eastern Dragons are beautiful, friendly, and wise. They are the angels of the Orient. Instead of being hated, they are loved and worshipped.Chinese Dragon 5 toes

Chinese dragons have a horse's head and a snake's body. Often they have four jaws. Chinese dragons are divided into Heavenly Dragons, Earthly Dragons and Dragons in water. The most well-known dragons are the Four Sea Dragon Kings governing the east, south, west, north side of the sea. These Four Sea Dragon Kings are in charge of creating clouds and rains for human world. Chinese people do not call a water faucet a tap, but a "Water Dragon Head".

The dragon is regarded as the symbol of the Chinese nation and can be seen everywhere in its culture: including literature, architecture, art, furniture and even clothing.

Dragon Folklore

Dragons are an important part of many Chinese festivals, including Chinese New Year. In ancient China, dragons did not breathe fire. Dragons were wise and caring. They guarded the wind, the rain, the rivers, precious metals and gems.

Many countries use dragons in their art, especially China, Korea and Japan. It's easy to tell the difference between Chinese, Korean and Japanese dragons. Just count the dragon's toes. Of course, you have to get really close. Sometimes it looks as if they have 3 toes, when they really have 5, because some are hidden from sight.  But, for a quick rule of toe:

  • Chinese dragons have five toes
  • Korean dragons have four toes
  • Japanese dragons have three toes

Funny Legend of the Dragon

The farther dragons travel from their home in China, the more toes they lose. Fortunately, Will and Guy have discovered, when wandering dragons return home to China, all their missing toes grow back.  Since most dragons would prefer to keep all their toes, all the time, few dragons ever wander very far from home.

More Interesting Chinese Trivia

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  • China has more English-speaking inhabitants than England.
  • The Mandarin word for China is Zhongguo which translates as "middle country", implying China is the centre of the world.
  • Ice cream was invented in China around 2,000 BC when the Chinese placed a milk and rice mixture in the snow.
  • Did you know that it is considered quite rude to blow your nose in public?
  • When a Chinese child loses a baby tooth, it doesn't get tucked under the pillow for the tooth fairy. If the child loses an upper tooth, the child's parents plant the tooth in the ground, so the new tooth will grow in straight and healthy. Parents toss a lost bottom tooth up to the rooftops, so that the new tooth will grow upwards, too. Cheaper than in the West say Will and Guy!
  • A complete cycle of the Chinese calendar takes 60 years.
  • It is considered good luck for the gate to a house to face south.
  • The most common surname in Beijing is Wang.
  • China was the first country to invent gun powder and fireworks and also use gun powder for guns, rockets and other arms.
  • China's number of listed languages totals approximately 206.
  • 400 million Chinese people are under 18.
  • The Great Wall of China is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is indeed great because it can be observed by man even from outer space. This wall measures more than 13,000 miles in length.
  • Tree hugging in China is strictly forbidden.
  • Chopsticks originated from, and were used by, the Chinese people approximately 4,000 years ago.
  • China's money is called renminbi, meaning the "people's currency".
  • When you write your name in China you put your family name first then your first name.
  • Did you know that 20th September is National "Love Your Teeth Day" in China?
  • In 550 AD, two Chinese monks smuggled silkworms out of China and started the western world's silk boom.
  • China's consumption of Coca-Cola is not trivial, in fact, they are the world's largest imbiber.
  • Acupuncture treats illnesses with inserting sharp thin needles in various pressure spots, it originated over 5,000 years ago in China.
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More Interesting Chinese Trivia and Facts

Ten English Loanwords Borrowed from Chinese

Words taken completely or in part from another language are known as loanwords. In the English language, there are many loanwords that have been borrowed from Chinese languages and dialects.  Here are details of ten common English words that are borrowed from Chinese. China Trivia and Interesting Facts

  1. Coolie: While some claim that this term has its origins in Hindi, it's been argued that it could also have origins in the Chinese term for hard work or 苦力 (kǔ lì) which is literally translated as "bitter labour."
  2. Gung Ho: The term has its origins in the Chinese word 工合 (gōng hé) that can either mean to work together, or as an adjective to describe someone that is overly excited or too enthusiastic. The term gong he is a shortened word for industrial cooperatives which were created in China in the 1930s. During that time U.S. Marines adopted the term to mean someone with a can-do attitude.
  3. Kowtow: From the Chinese 叩头 (kòu tóu) describing the ancient practice performed when anyone greeted a superior - such as an elder, leader, or emperor. The person had to kneel and bow down to the superior, making sure that their foreheads hit the ground. "Kou tou" is literally translated as "knock your head."
  4. Tycoon: The origins of this word comes from the Japanese term taikun, which was what foreigners called the shogun of Japan. A shogun was known to be someone who took over the throne and is not related to the emperor. Thus the meaning is typically used for someone who obtained power through might or hard work, rather than inheriting it. In Chinese, the Japanese term "taikun" is 大王 (dà wáng) which means "big prince." There are other words in Chinese that also describe a tycoon including 财阀 (cái fá) and 巨头 (jù tóu).
  5. Yen: This term comes from the Chinese word 愿 (yuàn) which means a hope, desire or wish. Someone who has a strong urge for oily fast food can be said to have a yen for pizza. 
  6. Ketchup: The origins of this word are debated. But many believe that its origins are from either the Fujianese dialect for the fish sauce 鮭汁 (guī zhī ) or the Chinese word for eggplant sauce 茄汁 (qié zhī).
  7. Chop Chop: This term is said to originate from the Cantonese dialect for the word 快快 (kuài kuài) which is said to urge someone to hurry up. Kuai means hurry in Chinese. "Chop Chop" appeared in English-language newspapers printed in China by foreign settlers as early as the 1800s.
  8. Typhoon: This is probably the most direct loanword. In Chinese, a hurricane or typhoon is called 台风 (tái fēng).
  9. Koan: Originating in Zen Buddhism, a koan is a riddle without a solution, which is supposed to highlight the inadequacy of logic reasoning. A common one is "What is the sound of one hand clapping." (If you were Bart Simpson, you would just fold one hand until you made a clapping noise.) Koan comes from the Japanese which comes from the Chinese for 公案 (gōng àn). Literally translated it means 'common case'.
  10. Chow: Let me try to clarify some erroneous explanations circulating about this word. While chow is a breed of dog, the term did not come to mean 'food' because the Chinese hold the stereotype of being dog-eaters. I suspect that 'chow' as a term for food comes from the word 菜 (cài) which can mean food, a dish (to eat), or vegetables.

Footnote:
The Chinese word "stir-fry" is expressed as "cao" in Mandarin and "chow" in Cantonese. More southern Chinese (mostly from the province of Canton) traveled abroad than northern Chinese in the old days (e.g. building railroads in America); therefore, more Cantonese were "captured" into American English than Mandarin. Another example of this is Chinatowns and Chinese restaurant menus (up to 20-30 yrs ago) were mostly Cantonese influences (chop sui, egg-fu-young, etc.).

So, I suspect "chow" was from stir frying a dish to mean eat or eating.

Regards,
Karl Young

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Listen: Do Not Feed The BearsDon't feed the bears

A visitor to a zoo, who was worse for wear from drinking too much alcohol, was badly injured trying to hand feed a caged bear. The rather silly man from Shandong Province was freed from the bear's grasp after keepers rushed to help.

Zoo officials indicated to Will and Guy that the man's actions foolish in the extreme. He had apparently ignored warning signs instructing him not to feed the animals or reach into their cages.

'If you ignore the safety warnings, you must take full responsibility for the consequences,' a zoo official told us. You couldn't make it up.

See more Chinese short stories

China: Further Fascinating Fun Facts

Did You Know?

  1. The world's largest producer of apples is China.
  2. The Chinese never give apples to invalids because "ping", the Chinese for apple, sounds a bit like "bing", which is Chinese for illness.
  3. 14 countries share a border with China and they are Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia and North Korea
  4. In ancient China, mouse meat was considered a delicacy, now, a favorite food of most Chinese is sun-dried maggots.
  5. In China, there is a type of tea called white tea which is actually simply boiled water.
  6. 24% of the world speaks Chinese. There are over 200 different Chinese languages and regional dialects. The official state language is Pu-tong-hwa [Mandarin].
  7. China manufactures 60% of the world's bicycles.
  8. People of ancient China believed that swinging your arms could cure a headache.
  9. According to economists, China will become the world's wealthiest nation by the year 2012.
  10. Fingerprinting was used in China as early as 700 AD.

One for luck: 20% of China's plants are used in medicine.

Chinese Style HaircutDon't feed the bears

A man gets a haircut featuring Tiananmen Gate at a barbershop, to commemorate the 60th anniversary [1949] of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in Zhengzhou, Henan.

Chinese Wedding

A bridegroom carries his bride on a bicycle on a street in Liuzhou, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The newly married couple held a bicycle wedding accompanied by more than 30 cyclist friends.

Funny Chinese Wedding

New and Funny China World Records Don't feed the bears

A Chinese man has made a stunning Guinness world record of driving across two rows of bottled beers for over 60 metres in Wenzhou.

Li Guiwen, an army driver from Beijing, steered along 1,798 bottles for 60.19m in a time of eight minutes and 28 seconds in eastern China's Zhejiang province.  He had previously attempted the same record in 2009, but due to rain, the right tyre of his vehicle slipped off the bottle track. Li, who thought of creating this record after a drinking bet with friends, added, "Since the failure last year, I have been training constantly."

China News Summer 2010

Fire-fighters walk near flames towering from a pipeline explosion at a port in Dalian in northern China's Liaoning province.

Chinese Wedding

Keepie-Up RecordDon't feed the bears

Over 1,000 Chinese people have broken a Guinness world record after juggling footballs for 10 seconds together. The new record was created over the weekend at Yanbian University when a total of 1,062 participants successfully completed the challenge in China's Jilin Province.

This broke the previous record, set last year in Hungary by 792 people.

Fourteen-year-old Song Zixin was the youngest participant. He said, 'To attend this event, I practiced at home every day. The record I made at home is juggling the ball for 303 times without touching the ground.'

Will and Guy are impressed by his dedication.

 

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