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中西文化习俗的比较与交流--代写范文

2016-12-23 来源: 51due教员组 类别: 更多范文

我国民间盛行的丧事后吃“豆腐羹饭”体现的是中国人几千年来对待死去的灵魂和如何对待自己的生活的一种生活态度 通过葬礼的哀号与哭泣 抒发自己对已逝去的人真挚的感情 更多时候 这其实是一种情感的寄托。

INTRODUCTION

In China there is a noticeable and very interesting common practice: the family members, relatives and close friends of the deceased will gather together to have a joyful banquet immediately after the mournful funeral. Though the banquet is traditionally called a “ Meal of Bean Curd Soup”, a simple food supposed to be eaten on such an occasion, it can nevertheless be very sumptuous in real practice. Instead of wailing and weeping as they did just now at the mourning ceremony, all the participants of the banquet seem to be enjoying themselves now, talking or even laughing over eating and drinking. And one more remarkable feature of this kind of Meal of Bean Curd Soup is that it is almost always a big get-together of nearly all the relatives of the deceased, old or young, male or female, immediate or distant, even including those who have rarely been in contact. More often than not, they take this assembling as a good opportunity to talk more about things concerning themselves than about the deceased. How should a funeral be followed by such a banquet? How should we interpret this interesting phenomenon? Besides showing thanks to those who are present at the funeral, does it have any of its own cultural significance? These questions and other more are just what this essay is intended to discuss.


IT REFLECTS THE CHINESE VIEW OF THIS LIFE AND NEXT LIFE

Generally speaking, the Chinese people are more concerned with the life of This World than the life of the Other World. This may be best supported by the Confucian idea, which has prevailed thousands of years in the Chinese people’s mind, about how to treat the dead spirits and how to do with our own life. Once asked by one of his students about man’s duty to the spirits, Confucius answered:” When still unable to do your duty to men, how can you do your duty to the spirits?” Then he went on to raise this well-known rhetoric question: ”Not yet understanding life, how can you understand death?” As we can see, many traditional Chinese rites are concerned with burial and mourning, including this “Meal of Bean Curd Soup” following the funeral, but according to the Confucian idea, “such rites are not ... performed for the benefit of the dead themselves, for the dead are dead, and therefore cannot possibly enjoy such things. The real reason for the existence of these ceremonies is that they provide an outlet for the emotions of the living.” (Essays on Chinese Civilization P321)

Then we may understand it is not strange, after all, that we should have a joyful banquet after a mournful funeral because we need an outlet for a different kind of emotion after we wail and weep sadly for the deceased. Since we understand that the dead are dead and we the living will go on to live and we should live fearlessly and happily as perhaps the dead wished, let’s bury our memory of the deceased deep in mind and have a sort of way to mark the start of a different life. We may not realize all this when we are having our “Meal of Bean Curd Soup’, but it does have this effect to varying degrees.

II.IT REFELECTS THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE IDEA OF “ BRING HONOR TO ONE’S ANCESTORS”

One of the most important beliefs of the Chinese people is that one is a “ good” one if he can bring honor to his ancestors. Here “the ancestors” stand for the concept of “family” while family is so important to the Chinese people that in Chinese, even the term for “a nation”, literally translated, means “a national family. According to Francia L.K.Hsu’ s Concentric Circle Systems, family is something between an individual and the society. A Chinese will turn to his family when he meets with difficulty or danger in society just as a Westerner may turn to his religion in such a case. The family acts as a group of mutual aid to protect an individual against an often hostile outside world. In return, an individual Chinese owes his first loyalty to his family, and should serve his family and bring honor to his family. Here “ the honor “ is understood in a much broader sense. Anything that can add to the prestige of the family is worth doing.

So, when a member, especially a senior member of the family, dies, what else can make outsiders think more highly of the family than a grand mourning ceremony for the deceased followed by an equally grand banquet to show how prosperous and how flourishing a family the deceased used to belong to and how united and how loyal all the other members of the family still are? As a matter of fact, general opinions tend to indicate that a family will be regarded as being “unusual” if it does not hold a banquet following the mourning ceremony for its deceased member.
Moreover, a funeral followed by a decent banquet is also a good chance to demonstrate one’s filial piety. In the light of the Chinese culture, one’s loyalty to his family is not only demonstrated by his caring for the elder generation who are still living but also by his respect for the ancestors who are dead. In fact, the Chinese word for “ filial piety ” may also mean “mourning “.

III.IT REFLECTS THE IMPORTANCE OF “ RELATIONS ” IN THE CHINESE PEOPLE’S MIND

“Relations “ or “ Human Relations “, to be specific, means so much to the Chinese people that “ relying on ‘ Relations ‘ or ‘ Ownership of Property ‘ for one’s status in society has become one of the key differences between Chinese culture and Western culture “ ( Notes of A Lecture by Prof. Fang Yongde from Shanghai International Studies Uni., 2001). If we have more relations or more important relations, we can enjoy a stronger position in society. Otherwise we are in a weaker status. Naturally we are ready to do anything to strengthen our existing relations and develop new ones rather than lose them or let them estranged. Sometimes we have to readjust certain relations or even cut some undesirable off. To do all these, we need proper occasions. A funeral together with a party following it may be one of them.
Then, when one dies, all the human relations that used to be connected with him now miss a “ cruciform knot ”. We need a funeral to confirm and grieve over this missing of relation and then a different kind of ceremony such as a party following the funeral (as a matter of fact, some other way has to be found, after all, if a party is not held after the mourning ceremony) in order to re-knit well the original net of relations in a lighter atmosphere. Those who come to attend the funeral and the banquet after it mean to shift their relations from the deceased to the living and to be ready to continue them. Those who do not come for any reason or are not invited to will stop this relation automatically, most probably for ever. Besides, a banquet following a funeral also serves as a good way to show thanks to people of all these different relations who have come all the way to attend the funeral.

CONCLUSION

Just like many other Chinese common practices, holding a banquet after a funeral is not merely a way to show thanks to those who are present at the funeral, but it has its own cultural significance. It shows that the Chinese people well understand the different meanings of This Life and Next Life. They not only want to show grief over the deceased but, consciously or unconsciously, they are also ready to accept the fact and want to do something to mark their readiness to start a new life. This practice also reflects the traditional Chinese idea of glorifying one’s ancestors by all means; hence a decent funeral followed by a decent banquet. Finally, it demonstrates the great importance of keeping relations in the Chinese people’s mind and so a funeral and a party following it well serve their different functions to confirm a missed knot ant to make a new one in its place in the big net of human relations.


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