With a history spanning over 6000 years, China is one of the world’s oldest continuing civilizations. A vast country with an equally colossal population, exploring China is nothing less than an epic adventure. For long, the country was under the shadows of colonialism. However, with its forward-thinking dynamism, today China features in the list of potential superpowers. Banking on its vibrant cultural past and booming economic and military might, it is rapidly emerging from the shadows and marching towards its rightful place under the sun. It is a country that was the powerhouse of technology and knowledge in the ancient world; the country that gave the world tea, silk, paper, gunpowder and many others apart from the ubiquitous Chinese food and in modern times, the ‘Made in China’ tag that graces over half of the entire world’s manufacturing products. The rise of China is inevitable and it would do you good to know more about this country that has been a land of mystery for long. You will surely be surprised at some of the interesting facts given below.
Fun Facts About China
- The Chinese do not have any middle names. They put their family name first and then their first name.
- In China, September 20 is declared as the National “Love Your Teeth Day”.
- It is generally regarded that the paper was invented in China during the 2nd century BC. Paper is considered as one of the four greatest inventions of China. It is believed that the eunuch Cai Lun invented the paper and presented some samples to the Emperor Ho Ti. In the 13th century, papermaking spread to the Middle East and then to Europe. Along with paper, China is also the birthplace of compass, gunpowder and printing.
- The Chinese physician, Hua Tuo (c 140-208), was the first person in the world to use anesthesia during surgery. He used a mixture of hemp and a Chinese wine called ‘ma fei san’ to make the patient unconscious.
- China is the source of three of the world’s ten longest rivers.
- Kites were invented in China about 3000 years ago. It was used to frighten enemies and predict the success of a voyage.
- The Chinese consider the Giant Panda as a symbol of bravery. In ancient times, Chinese Emperors used to keep Pandas, as they believed that this animal could ward off evil spirits and natural disasters.
- The first instrument for monitoring earthquakes was invented in 130 A.D by the astronomer Zhang Heng. This primitive machine could even detect the direction of the quake.
- Ice cream was invented in China and the recipe was introduced to Europe by the explorer Marco Polo. He also took the recipe of noodles with him to Europe.
- The first mechanical clock was designed and built by a civil servant Su Song between 1088 and 1092 A.D. This device could tell the time of the day as well as track constellations, so that accurate horoscopes could be made.
- The water wheel was invented in China about 1200 years before the Europeans learned to harness the power of water. The Chinese were also the first to use the iron plow, which the Europeans learnt to use only during the 17th century.
- During the reign of the monarchy, wealthy men and women would grow the nail on their little finger extremely long. This was a sign of their rank. To protect their long nail, they used to wear ornate gold and silver nail guards.
- The Chinese lantern originated around 250 B.C and was used to symbolize long life. It was also a symbol of family wealth and lighting lanterns in the house was said to bring riches. In fact, wealthy families would build huge lanterns in their house, which would require many people to hoist them into place.
- The Grand Canal of China is the oldest and longest canal in the world with a length of 1795 km. The canal connects the cities of Beijing and Hangzhou. The canal has 24 locks and about 60 bridges.
- In China, the marital status of a girl is associated with her pigtails. A young girl wears two pigtails while a married woman is allowed to wear only one pigtail.
- The Chinese calendar is the oldest in the world, originating around 2600 B.C. It takes 60 years to complete and has 12 zodiac signs representing 12 animals.
- Christianity is a rapidly expanding religion in China and there are about 54 million Christians in the country. Its Christian population is larger than that of Italy and is likely to become the largest center of Christianity in the world soon. Three other religions—Buddhism, Taoism and Islam are also practiced in China though its communist government promotes atheism.
- One of the world’s most popular beverages, tea, was discovered in China. The Chinese attach immense significance to tea, considering it to be the necessity of life. It is believed that the Emperor Shennong discovered tea in 2737 B.C when a few tea leaves fell into his pot of boiling water.
- There are four creatures that are considered to be the greatest in Chinese mythology — dragon, phoenix, tiger and tortoise.
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