Originating from a romantic legend between two lovers, Zhinü (織女) the weaver girl and Niulang (牛郎) a cowherder. The tale dates back to over 2600 years and is referenced in a poem from the Classic of Poetry. So popular in China that it has inspired the Tanabata festival in Japan and the Chilseok festival in Korea.

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I've owned a set of Baoding "Chinese Exercise Balls" for fifteen years, and have periodically picked them up and twirled them around a few times, thinking that someday I would devote some time to practicing this "healthy" exercise.

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From the Greek word "ABAX", meaning "calculating board" or "calculating table". Invented by the Chinese, the first record of the abacus was from a sketch of one in a book from the Yuan Dynasty (14th Century). It's Mandarin name is "Suan Pan" which means "caculating plate". It's inventor is unknown, but the abacus is often referred to as the "first computer" because it was used as a mathematic model for early electronic computers.

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It seems everyone is extremely busy in today´s society, often forgetting to relax and enjoy life. In these circumstances, it is interesting to note that the Chinese character for "busy" means "losing one´s mind".

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There is a Chinese superstition: Girls who are born in the Year of the Tiger are dangerous, wild, carriers of calamity. Nobody wants to marry a tiger-girl, because she might beat up her husband, or her mother-in-law. Folks who have daughters born in such a year, often either subtract or add a year to their age.

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An investigation of almost any culture, tradition, or religion will reveal the use of symbols to convey meaning beyond what is easily communicable in spoken or written language. The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" has proven true since time immemorial. In China, one widely recognized group of symbols that holds deep meaning in Chinese philosophy is the "Pa Kua" ("Bagua" in Pinyin) or "Eight Trigrams."

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Chinese were making popcorn in the Song Dynasty (960-1127BC). And evidence of popcorn has been found in Sumatra and India long before Columbus reached the Americas, meaning that the snack may have developed independently in both Asia and the Americas.

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After surviving 2,200 years underground, China's famed terracotta army is now being attacked by more than 40 varieties of mold, perhaps it's most formidable enemy ever.

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After surviving 2,200 years underground, China's famed terracotta army is now being attacked by more than 40 varieties of mold, perhaps it's most formidable enemy ever.

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Legend has it that in the Qing Dynasty an official stopped and sought rest at a small temple. He took out his crystal snuff bottle to take a sniff and found it was empty. He scraped off some of the powder that was stuck on the inside walls of the bottle using a slender, sharp bamboo stick, thus leaving lines on the inside of the bottle.

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Once common in the Qing dynasty, but now considered quite rare, these unique items served two purposes in ancient China. They came in many colors, shapes, and sizes with perhaps the most unique being the concave "pillow" shape as shown in the photo.

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The traditional Chinese painting is a shining artistic pearl in human history, but may have as a mysterious beginning as human life itself. Some paintings, more specifically the prehistoric rock engravings or sculptures, remain a riddle to modern people. However, we can identify certain characteristics that Chinese paintings share throughout history.

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You will notice in some Chinese restaurants, especially those serving southern style food and Dim Sum, patrons will often tap their fingers on the table when receiving a refill of tea. There is a quaint story about how this custom became popular.

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In Asia, some believe that those born in the years of the Horse may be tyrants, revolutionaries, or thieves. On the other hand, they have great capacity to excel.

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According to the Chinese tradition, the snake is the astrological companion to the dragon, or the Yin to the Dragon's Yang force. The snake's nature is more subtle, elegant, and restrained.

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According to Chinese astrology, LiChun is the marker for the beginning of the energetic year, which in China, is named after an animal symbol. LiChun means the beginning of spring season, and although it comes around at roughly the same time every year, the exact moment of its beginning it will vary slightly from year to year. The LiChun for 2012 is February 4 at 18:22. This is precise moment the Universal energy will shift to the Dragon energy. Please do not confuse the beginning of the year of the Dragon with Chinese New Years day.

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The word "Gongfu" in Chaozhou Gongfu Tea can mean "skill" or "patience." It is named partly because the tea making process is time-consuming and requires some skill to make tea.

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Western fast food is flourishing in China. McDonalds has 400 stores in 100 cities, and Kentucky Fried Chicken now has over 30 in Beijing alone.

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In China, thousands of stories and parables help shape the culture. Here is a sample short story from the 17th century by famous author, Pu Songling.

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Check your personality type according to Traditional Chinese Astrology. Find the year you were born within the Chinese lunar calendar. The element that follows the year will tell you which of the five elements (metal, water, wood, fire, or earth) relates to the particular year in which you were born. The Chinese use the sign, the element, and even the time to calculate an astrological/numerical pattern in which they can forecast future events, recall past events and recognize tendencies.

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Many things in China have changed in recent years... the blue button-up Mao suits have practically disappeared, the famous caps with red stars are scarce, but "bu xie" shoes (sometimes referred to as "Mao shoes") endure...even flourish.

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Officially classified as a folk-art, the discipline grew out of the paper templates used for embroidery and lacquerware. As the templates became more elaborate, using colored paper or hand-coloring the templates became common practice.

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According to Chinese folklore, the earth once had 10 suns circling over it, each taking its turn in illuminating the earth with its light. But one day all the suns appeared together and began to scorch the earth.

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The first recorded reference to Chinese chopsticks was in Li Ji or The Book of Rites, which dates to the beginning of the Christian Era. However, it is commonly believed that the history of chopsticks is much older and most likely developed when people used twigs and sticks to stir heated foods.

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Ever tried Chinese tea eggs? If not, you are missing a treat. Just the smell of them reminds many Chinese of home or of the street vendors who hawk them from sidewalk kettles throughout Asia.

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According to the Chinese tradition, the snake is the astrological companion to the dragon, or the Yin to the Dragon's Yang force. The snake's nature is more subtle, elegant, and restrained. Unlike feelings in most Western cultures, a snake in China is considered a lucky sign and often the carrier of good fortune.

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