German-Chinese Meeting #5 Family, friends & status

In today’s meeting, we were talking about the composition of families and the value our cultures ascribe to status.

I taught my Chinese teammates about the German words for mother, father, child, sister, etc. and showed them a statistic of the amount of children families have in Germany (statistic_id3051_familien-mit-kindern-in-deutschland-nach-kinderanzahl-2019). I thought it was very surprising that both in German as well as in Chinese we call our parents mama and papa. Since in Germany, we do not really have rituals or traditions that show that elderly people have the highest status, I sadly could not contribute to that topic as much as intended. We respect older people for sure but there is no such thing as a proper tradition showing their allegedly higher status.

I think it is particularly interesting that there are different words in Chinese for both younger and older sisters/brother as well as for the grandparents of your mom’s or dad’s family.

Moreover, all three of us thought it was interesting that when mourning, people in China wear white clothes whereas people in Germany (and the western world) wear black clothes. I also did not know that Chinese people wear red at their wedding (only bride and groom tho) because it is a color representing joy and happiness. They also taught me that there is still a lot of value and importance ascribed to marriage in China. Meaning that parents might get angry at their sons when they do not get married because then, their bloodline would not continue. On the opposite, I feel like marriage in Germany has lost in its meaning and the expectations that Germans have to get married have gotten less – it is still wanted but I think it is of less importance than it was in former times.

This was another very interesting zoom meeting with my Chinese teammates and I am looking forward to the next session.


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