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Chinese People Greeting

Chinese greeting ways tells how to say Hello to and start a communication with Chinese people when you are traveling China. Just some interesting details below to learn.

Common Greeting in China
In most cultures, when you meet acquaintances for the first time during a day, it is normal to greet them. The main purpose of this greeting is to build up a good relationship between the people concerned, and each language usually had a number of set phrases which can be used for his purpose.

The most common form of greeting in China is "ni hao", usually translated as "Good day" but literally meaning "You are well". The same greeting phrased as a question (How are you?) is "ni hao ma". The response is usually "ni hao". You may use it on any occasion regardless of the time of day or the social status of the person you are greeting.

Handshaking
Handshaking was first introduced into China after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty of the beginning of last century. Besides the concept of a republic, thanks to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, many unknown and unforeseen practices were imported from Europe: to work on weekdays and to have day off on Sundays, the solar calendar, the brushing of teeth, and a few. In old China, the courteous behavior was that when people met or parted, they bowed to each other and cupped their own hands one in the other, moving them up and down several times in front of the chest to pay obeisance. After almost a century the westernized way of greetings has not yet become very popular among the masses, while the age-old national practices have too stiff a neck to give a slight nod even at an international gathering, to say nothing of bowing. What a great pity!

Traditional Greeting in China
The traditional greeting is to cup one's own hands (left over right), chest high, and raise them slightly as a salute. In earlier times when greeting a person of superior social standing, it was customary to raise the hands as high as the forehead and to execute a low bow. This tradition has a history of more than 2,000 years, but nowadays it is seldom used except in the Spring Festival or on other special occasions.

Questions & Comments

  • Ripple on January 6, 2012, 12:04 pm

    Hi Lesley, actually many Chinese are not so particular about the food in other country. I think the Chinese homely dish is ok for most of Chinese. Veg, white meat, red meat, noodle or fish is ok (please note that the Chinese Muslim don't eat pork). As far as I know, some Chinese enjoy demonstrating their culinary skills in their foreign friends' houses when they visit their country. If possible, you can talk with them for the food preparation.

  • Lesley Booker on January 6, 2012, 12:14 am

    I have 4 Chinese businessman coming to the UK for a business meeting and we will be having a lunch prepared in house. What are the best foods to prepare?

  • Micah Scanzillo on December 17, 2011, 3:12 am

    I am a American, and what to know what the best food is in China?

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