Different country has different cultures.Culture is a social behavior, customs, norms and beliefs of a particular people or society. Culture usually has a long history and is influencing our next generations.In this essay, the main aspects of culture such as costume, social etiquette, value, and norm would be discussed by referring to the Western and other experiences. They would also be compared to see the cultural difference of the countries. Firstly,costume is one of the aspects of the culture and it can represent the entire culture.
During the wedding ceremony, the traditional Western custom of a bride is a white wedding dress symbolizes purity and virginity. They will also wear a white wedding veil on their head. Even the guests who attend the ceremony will also wear white as they think white is a peaceful, calm and warmest color. However, it is totally different from the Chinese culture, the Chinese resist to wear white at their wedding. For example, brides in China traditionally wear red and lots of gold bangles with the pattern of dragon and Phoenix. Chinese have an idea that red and gold represent happiness and auspiciousness. On the contrary, they think that white is an inauspicious color which represents mourning and death.In Chinese culture, white will only use in funerals, it is impossible for them to put a white wedding veil on their head.
As they predominantly wear white hats in funerals.(Lindsay Baker,2018) Secondly, social etiquette is also an aspect of the culture. The definition of it is “the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life” (Robin Glover,2018). It is very important to perform a polite behavior and good manner in the society. As there are various countries, they all have different social behaviors.
For instance, “Cheek kissing when greeting close friends, is commonly practiced in parts of Europe” (Laurie Chen, 2017). The country like Italy, France, and Belgium usually hug and kiss each other when they greet. Their intention is to show love and respect to each other.
However, in Asia, it is not common to do this in public. For instance, It is common to see Hong Kong people stand close to someone during a conversation as it is a sign of respect. However, body contact does not occur, never hug or kiss or pat someone on the back to greet them. In Hong Kong, these acts are perceived as offensive and impolite.
(inter nations,2018) As the westerner is used to pat the shoulders of others to greet, it slowly became a habit. But in the Chinese culture, patting the shoulders of others is a very disrespectful Act. For instance, the Chinese believed that patting the shoulders of others would bring bad luck to them. Especially for businessmen, officials from the government or even people who are to be about to gamble. The Chinese think that this act is extremely ominous and offensive. Therefore patting shoulders are generally tabooed in China.Thirdly, value is an aspect of the culture. The Chinese have a virtue came from the Confucian Philosophy, the filial piety.
The meaning of it is a strong loyalty, love and respect to one’s parents, elders and family members. Acts of filial piety include to take care of one’s parents, to obey one’s parent, to do good deeds outside in order to bring good names to the family. For example, in China, it is forbidden to call your teachers by their first name. It is seen as a disrespectful and impolite act.
Children have to perform well to bring fame to their own family. According to (Douglas Todd, 2016), people from Asia are more communal and family-oriented, children, in general, have more respect for their elders and are more willing to take care of aging parents until they die. However, from the western culture, they believe in individualism, therefore, they show little respect for family members and aging parents. According to the Time magazine (Joel Stein, 2013), it described the “Me generation” from the western. “In the U.
S. Their children are called as the Me Generation, who then produced the Me Me Me Generation, whose selfishness technology has only exacerbated. Whereas in the 1950s families displayed a family photo in their homes, the average middle-class American family today walks amid 85 pictures of themselves and their pets.” This show that the children in the west are generally overconfident and self-involved. They usually ignore their parents and family members.
Their intention to perform well in academic studies or in their workplace is to give themselves pride, great wealth and high position. They work so hard for themselves but not for the names of their family. It is different to the Chinese value ‘ to bring honor to one’s ancestors’. Also, it is very common for children to call their relatives by their first name, even workers in the workplace. The relationships between the elders and the younger generations are just like friends.Lastly, norms also have taken a very important place in culture. Norms vary widely across various cultural groups, ‘Norms are the agreed, upon expectations and rules by which a culture guides the behavior of its members in any given situation’.(Cliffs Notes,2016) The Asian country such as Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are famous for fast-paced life.
Hong Kong people, for instance, there is a Chinese saying that Hong Kong people always mention, “An inch of time is worth an inch of gold, yet you can’t buy an inch of time with an inch of gold.” This shows how valuable time is to the Hong Kong people. Also, in Japan, as this country is a developed country it is super crowded. It is very common to see thousands and thousands of people rushing through the pedestrians. People in Japan are quick and efficient because they hope to curtail their time to approach larger outcomes of work. Therefore it is not acceptable to be slow when you are working in Asia, you are expected to be quick and efficient. However, according to an article in the book Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.
It mentioned a study to compare the pace of life in thirty-one countries around the world. “Three indicators of the pace of life were observed: average walking speed in downtown locations, the speed with which postal clerks completed a simple request (work speed), and the accuracy of public clocks. Overall, the pace of life was fastest in Japan and the countries of Western Europe and was the slowest countries.” (ROBERT V. LEVINE and ARA NORENZAYAN, 1999, p.178). This show that the people who live in the West are apparently enjoying a slow-paced life.
For instance, Spain is one of the countries which has the slowest pace of life and is famous for their peaceful and relaxed environment. Madrid is the busiest city in Spain, however, when compared to most Japanese urbanites, Madrid is still a lot more relaxed and less crowded. The people in Madrid are not as rush as the Asians are, their stress level is relatively lower. (Chris Berdik,2008) The people in the west advocate slow-paced life, waiters expect the client to lounge and take their time to enjoy the food. Even you are a bit late at work, employers do not really mind. (Chris Berdik,2008)In conclusion, four main aspects of culture, which are costume, social etiquette, value, and norm have been discussed above.
Firstly, for the costume, brides from the Chinese culture usually choose to wear a red wedding dress as they think red is a festive and auspicious color. Unlike the westerners who love to wear white to represent purity and innocence, the Chinese think that white represents sorrow and death. Secondly, social etiquette, it can help us to understand the countries more.
For example, it is forbidden to pat the shoulders of the Chinese and to kiss and hug them when greeting. On the contrary, the westerners think that it is an act to show our love and care. Thirdly, each country has their own values and it is one of the most important aspects of culture. For people who come from the Chinese Culture, would be very familiar to filial piety. The Chinese think that the key to success is filial piety as people try to gain good names for their family and would perform well in outside. For the westerners, they emphasized individualism, therefore, they do good deeds and perform well outside just for themselves but not for the family. Lastly, for the norm, by comparing western and the Asian countries, it shows that westerners are more willing to slow down their footsteps and to enjoy the slow-paced life. For example, people in Spain are always very calm, as their life is very slow-paced they do not have to rush.
This is totally different from the Asian culture, for example, people in Hong Kong and Japan have a very busy life. They are always rush because their aim is not to lose any time. By looking at different countries, it gives us great opportunities to understand different aspects of culture. Different country has their unique culture, by doing more research we could understand and appreciate each other more.