Looking for Answers to Two Questions About Chinese Culture

I have some Chinese culture questions I would like some input on.

  1. What is the Chinese custom of opening gifts? Do they open them in front of the giver or not? It felt strange to take a friend a birthday gift and not see it get opened. I realize this might be a cultural thing or it could be an individual thing. I just want to figure it out if I can.
  2. Here in South China, when the weather gets cold, people pile on the sweaters and coats, but they leave the windows and doors wide open. I’m told it’s because they must have the fresh air to stay healthy (given the plumbing standards I can somewhat see their point). What I’m wondering is, is this just a Cantonese thing or does it hold for other areas of China as well? I would think that would be a very frigid rule to keep in the Beijing area, for example.

So, if any of you reading this, have some educated answers for me, please post them in the comments (just click on the word “comment” at the end of the post – it’s a little hard to see, but it’s there, I promise).

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

5 comments

  1. My friends have done the same and my best friend constantly reminds me of this (number 1). They dont open gifts in front of you. As for number 2, probably some ritual from a bazillion years ago that no longer makes sense but they still do it cuz the neighbors do… but dont hold me to number 2.

  2. For #1 — I think it may be Asian thing not just Chinese. Most Indian does same thing…they don’t open gift in front of the giver.

  3. Thank you for the input on #1. I thought it might be that. I’m curious now, how does this play out in the U.S. when you are in a mixed culture setting? Do you open gifts in front of the giver or not? So many things to learn…

  4. I haven’t got many gifts from other culture…I may not open it up in front of giver unless they hint me to open it up. The main resaon we don’t open up gift in front of giver (when there are many giver) is because people start comapring gifts with each other and not everyone at party can efford expensive gifts and they may feel shy or bad when their gift are being opened…This is my reason…

    • I appreciate the insight. The reasoning makes sense, especially here in China with their concern for saving face and not wanting to cause someone else to lose face. I understand that it can be an extra way of extending kindness to friends when in a large group. Thank you.

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