Popular Chinese Leisure Activities
A walk in the park in China is not just any walk in the park. The Chinese parks are often times equivalent to pleasure and amusement, the place to socialize, interact, and exercise. This blog is an attempt to illustrate some of the popular Chinese leisure activities that you can experience when you go for a stroll in a Chinese park.
Jianzi – Chinese Hacky Sack
毽子 In the traditional game, Jianzi, the players keep a shuttlecock in the air by using feet and other parts of the body. However, they are not allowed to use hands. The jianzi – or shuttlecock, with the English term “hacky sack”, usually has feathers fixed into a rubber sole or plastic disc. At the formal game, people play it on badminton or volleyball courts but oftentimes you will see that a group of players simply just circle around the jianzi on the street or at the park.
太极拳 The slow movements that characterize the traditional Chinese Tai Chi practice serve both practical and healthy purposes. The gentle movements simultaneously develop good defense skills such as muscle strength and flexibility and ease the body by reducing stress. The philosophy of Tai Chi advocates that incoming force should be met with softness instead resisting or fighting against it. The practice is associated with the thought of longevity and fosters a relaxing, meditational atmosphere. Today the traditional art of Tai Chi has developed into a popular practice that combines two different aspects - practical self-defense and physical and mental health benefits. Now it is not only used in hospitals, clinics, and senior centers but also as a freelance practice in parks as a gentle way to fight stress.
陀螺 Tuo Luo is a traditional toy made out of wood and steel. The steel ball is attached at the bottom of the Tuo Luo and spins on the ground. At first, a string is circled several times around the top of Tuo Luo and put on the floor. After that, players pull the string quickly and keep it spinning by using the string whipping it continuously. They let it go round and round and try not to make the spinning speed go down.
空竹 Kong Zhu is a Chinese yo-yo that consists of two thick plastic discs. The two thick discs are connected with a long axis in the middle. The players keep the Kong Zhu spinning on the string, which is connected to two sticks – one in each end. To keep the Kong Zhu moving, the player moves the sticks up and down and uses his hands to balance it out. Advanced players throw the yo-yo up in the air and catch it on the string. Talented Kong Zhu players around in the parks demonstrate a variety of techniques that reflect a creative mind. The skies are the limit – you should come and see it!
Calligraphy on public ground
书法 The ancient tradition of ground calligraphy, which today is widely spread in East Asia, originated in China. In graceful movements, painters draw traditional Chinese characters using a long brush pen soaked in water or black ink. The strong tradition of using brushstrokes to illustrate the art of Chinese calligraphy has today gained popularity among the Chinese. From time to time, calligraphy painters will gather in public parks to participate in contests arranged by the more hard-core enthusiasts.
We hope that you have now gained an insight into current popular Chinese leisure activities that characterize the Chinese way of socializing. We're curious to know which activity you would participate in at the park in China, let us know in the comments.