Climate 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 relatively arid.
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 ?).
However, 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 humid.
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 summer.
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
Climate characteristics: Most 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 round.
?The rainy season of most of the parts runs from May to August, so bring with adequate rain gear, clothes and shoes.
? 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.
According to 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 religions.
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.”
According to 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.
According to 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 family.
Ancient Chinese were writers and philosophers — particularly during the Ming and Qing dynasties — and that is reflected in the country’s rich liturgical history.
Recently, 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 —
Customs and celebrations
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.
Culture 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 sesame.
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 South.
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 firecrackers.
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.