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8 strange Chinese things in foreigners' eyes
来源：China Daily 翻译：Jim Wu
Editor's note: What are the things considered the norm in China but weird to foreigners? Some Forum readers share their opinions. You're also welcome to join the discussion.
MichaelM (US) 美国网友
I heard recently that after giving birth, women aren't allowed to take a bath or shower. They shouldn't wash their hair for over a month. They shouldn't return to work for nearly 3 months. Very different in the West. I really don't know or understand the rationale or if it's just some kind of tradition.
Some of the no-nos on the traditional list, even though most new mothers are unable, or unwilling, to observe them all strictly nowadays, include: no direct contact with the wind, no going out, no fruits, no vegetables, no salt, no wearing sandals, no exposing of the heels, no leaving empty space between the waist and back of a chair (cushion required), no hair washing, no baths, no brushing teeth, no brushing hair, no TV watching, no crying, no boiled water, and more.
Sarah (UK) 英国网友
In China, all water has to be boiled before you can drink it. I am not sure why the Chinese do it, but I have heard that it is very good for your digestive system.
golden_fred (US) 美国网友
Drinking is a part of Chinese culture that I find weird. If you want to create or enhance your network, you have to drink as much as you can.
Seneca (US) 美国网友
A far more pervasive feature is the red envelope. If you are married to a Chinese you will be surprised by the sheer number of events that give people an automatic right to obtain red money-filled envelopes:
- A house-warming party;
- the marriage;
- death of someone;
- promotion (of a civil servant);
- birth of a child;
Chili (US) 美国网友
In China, children were raised primarily by the grandparents because of the parents needing to work. My husband was raised by his grandparents, and my in-laws were raised by their grandparents. Should children's primary caretakers be their parents?
MichaelM (US) 美国网友
I'm studying for the driving exam. The laws are similar to the West. What's amazing is, NO ONE FOLLOWS THESE LAWS IN CHINA! Seriously. The licensing process in China is far more difficult than in the West. However, it seems that in China, as soon as you do get the license, you forget everything that you learned and do whatever you want, whenever you, wherever you want, however you want. Parking on sidewalks, driving on the wrong side of the road, constantly honking the horn and many others. Most of the laws are exactly the opposite of what more than 50% of the drivers do in China. In the West, we have driving laws that are enforced. It is rare to see someone breaking the driving laws in the West.
robert237 (US) 美国网友
My wife tells me I'll have good luck when I sneeze.I like this much, much more than hearing the tired, old "God bless you" common in the West.
DMZappa (US) 美国网友
Cupping therapy. My wife does dry Cupping Therapy and I understand it is an ancient practice but I don't see any benefits or results to it. I believe it is to draw bad blood to the surface of one's skin.
I think "strange thing" number one is a very interesting topic. Many westerners don't seem to understand "坐月子"--as some say, "sitting the month," or "doing the golden month." For me, it is one of my favorite topics!
It is my understanding that Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to the 40 days or so (roughly, one month) after giving birth as "the golden month," and this is regarded as a very special time in a woman's life. Moreover, it is believed that a woman can possibly obtain robust health, and overcome any chronic diseases she might have, if she is properly nourished and well cared for in this time. However, it is also seen as a very critical time, because if the woman is not well taken care of during this period, she could develop a chronic illness later on in life. When I was pregnant, I read a book called, "Ancient Healing for Modern Women: Traditional Chinese Medicine for All Phases of a Woman's Life," by Dr. Xiaolan Zhao. In the book, an example that Dr. Zhao gives is the connection between bathing/showering/hair-washing (and also the exposure to very cold, harsh temperatures) and arthritis. Dr. Zhao goes on to explain that while not all of the practices for observing the golden month are practical for everyone, a woman during her golden month must remember to take very good care of herself, to ensure that she has a proper recovery from childbirth. In short, it is my understanding that what a woman eats, drinks, and does affects her recovery postpartum--at least, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just like the author of the article states, not everyone is able or willing to observe the golden month as tradition dictates; but, there are still a few of us out there who take the golden month with a degree of seriousness. :-D ;-D
My wife feels that most women no longer do 坐月子 but still have the "full month" banquet.
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