Chongqing Culture

Chongqing Culture introduces Chongqing culture tour information about history, religions, food culture, opera culture, ethnic groups, festivals and customs, museums, traditional villages, intangible cultural heritages and inheritors of intangible cultural heritages.

History of Chongqing

In the early paleolithic age 2 million years ago, the earliest person in China, Wushan people, appeared in present Wushan County of Chongqing. In the late paleolithic age, 20,000-30,000 years ago, "Tongliang culture" (today's Tongliang District) appeared. Chongqing is a famous historical and cultural city. Chongqing got the name in the southern Song Dynasty. 

In 316 BC, Qin destroyed Ba kingdom, and since then Chongqing area was under the control of the central plains dynasties. After Qin destroyed Ba kingdom, Ba prefecture(巴郡) was built in its original place in 314 BC, as one of the 36 prefectures. The seat of local government was in Jiangzhou City (Today's Yuzhong District in Chongqing). After Liu Bang of the Han dynasty acquired the land of Bashu in 206 BC, Ba prefecture was still established according to the Qin dynasty. Fuling and Badong prefectures were established in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Chongqing has many heritages of The Three Kingdoms period, including the white emperor city and Zhang Fei Temple. Many of the stories in the Romance of The Three Kingdoms take place in what is now Chongqing area. 

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Bayu Culture in Chongqing(巴渝文化)

Bayu culture is one of the most distinctive national cultures in the upper reaches of the Yangtze river. Bayu culture originated from Ba culture, which refers to the regional culture formed in the historical development of Ba ethnic group and Ba kingdom. Ba people have been living among mountains and rivers, under the influence of nature and in a hostile environment, they have developed a strong, tough and fierce character. Therefore, Ba people are known as brave and good at fighting. The representatives of Bayu culture include Chongqing Cuisine, Dragon Tongue(龙门阵), Chongqing dialect, the provisional capital culture, Sichuan opera, Paoge culture(袍哥文化), Chongqing dock culture, working song on Chuanjiang, Shu embroidery and so on.

Provisional Capital Culture(陪都文化)

During the second world war, with the national government moved to Chongqing, Chongqing became the wartime capital of the republic of China. Many schools moved to Chongqing, a large number of well-known educators and scholars came to Chongqing for teaching, and the celebrities of many literary and artistic circles also came to work and settle in Chongqing, such as Zhang Daqian, Hu Shi, Fu Sinian, Lin Yutang, Qian Mu, Liang Shiqiu, Guo Moruo, Liu Yazi, Ma Yinchu, Tao Xingzhi, Liang Shuming, Xu Beihong, Lao She and so on. Chongqing has become a cultural and educational center in southwest China. Shapingba, a cultural district in Chongqing with many universities, became a famous cultural dam in the rear area at that time. A large number of talents have been cultivated here, such as Ding Zhaozhong, Zhu Guangya, Zhou Guangzhao, Zou Jiahua, Mao Yushi, Wu Jinglian. The culture of provisional capital has also become a cornerstone in the cultural development history of Chongqing.

Religion Culture in Chongqing

There are five major religions in Chongqing, namely, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity. By the end of 2015, Chongqing had 548 places for religious activities and one religious school (Chongqing Buddhist College). There are 33 places for Taoist activities, 8 mosques for Islam, 66 Catholic churches for Catholicism and 162 places for Christian activities.

Main Religious Venues in Chongqing 

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Chongqing Food Culture

The biggest characteristic of Chongqing food is spicy and hot. Chongqing is one of the birthplaces of hotpot. In March 2007, Chongqing was awarded the title of "Capital of China's Hot Pot" by China Cooking Association. Chongqing food culture representatives include Chongqing hot pot, Sichuan food, Chongqing cuisine, Fish Filets in Hot Chili Oil, double-cooked pork slices, Boiled Fish with Pickled Cabbage and Chili, spicy chicken, spring chicken, Poached Spicy Pork Slices, old duck soup, Hot and Sour Rice Noodles, shredded pork with garlic sauce, steamed pork with rice flour, Chongqing spicy noodles, Chongqing snacks, etc. No matter the food streets at Jiefengbei, Hongya Cave and Ciqikou, or the eating houses in the depth of streets, are good places to taste local food. 

Opera Culture in Chongqing

Famous operas prevalent in Chongqing include Sichuan Opera, Liangshan Lantern Opera(梁山灯戏), Yang Opera(阳戏) and Jielong Nuo Opera(接龙傩戏). Sichuan Opera and Liangshan Lantern Opera are the national intangible cultural heritages.

Sichuan Opera

Sichuan opera, one of the traditional Chinese operas, is mainly popular in Han areas in Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan and Guizhou in southwest China. It is a blend of five kinds of vocal arts from the traditional opera, including high tune(高腔, a kind of rhyme scheme of Chinese opera), Kunqu opera, Huqin, Tan opera(弹戏, namely Bangzi) and Sichuan folk lantern opera. Facial makeup of Sichuan opera is an important part of the performing art of Sichuan opera. It is an artistic treasure created and inherited by the artists of Sichuan opera in the past dynasties. Sichuan opera is divided into 5 types of roles, namely, the young man's role, an elderly male character, the female character type, male character with a painted face and clown. Remarkable creation in the drama expression technique, the performance technique and other aspects, can fully embody the esthetics feature of Chinese opera's false or true complement. On May 20, 2006, Sichuan opera was approved by the State Council to be included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list. 

Liangshan Lantern Opera(梁山灯戏)

Liangshan Lantern Opera is a traditional folk art form that has been spreading in east Sichuan province for a long time. It is called "Liangshan Lantern Opera" because it originated in Liangshan county of Sichuan province (now Liangping district of Chongqing). The opera has been included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list.

Traditional Chongqing Temple Fairs

The traditional Chongqing temple fair is a folk activity with Chongqing leisure culture. Temple fairs in Chongqing were originally held around temples and held regularly, so temple fairs in Chongqing gradually became a part of Chongqing city culture. Fengdu ghost town has numerous temples and temple fairs.

Main Temple Fairs in Chongqing

Ethnic Groups in Chongqing

Chongqing is the only municipality directly under the central government with ethnic autonomous areas under its jurisdiction in China. It has jurisdiction over 4 autonomous counties, 1 district (Qianjiang district) enjoying preferential policies of ethnic autonomous areas and 14 ethnic townships. The majority of Chongqing's population is Han minority, and there are also minorities includidng Tujia, Miao, Hui, Manchu, Yi, Zhuang, Buyi, Mongolian, Tibetan, Bai, Dong, Uygur, Korean, Hani, Dai, Lisu, Wa, Lahu, Shui, Naxi, Qiang and Gelao. Among the minorities in Chongqing, Tujia has the largest population, followed by Miao. Ethnic minorities make up about 6% of Chongqing's population.

Autonomous Counties in Chongqing

Ethnic Towns in Chongqing

Festivals and Customs of Chongqing

The majority of Chongqing's population is Han nationality. Among the minority groups, Tujia ethnic minority has the largest population, followed by Miao ethnic minority. Therefore, the festivals and activities in Chongqing are mainly those of the Han nationality. For thousands of years, the folk traditions and customs formed by Chongqing people include New Year's visit during the Spring Festival, watching lantern on the 15th day of the first lunar month, ancestor worship in the early April and appreciating the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well as hanging wine flag, going to temple fairs, flying the kite and so on, covering weddings and funerals, recreations and games, supernatural concepts, worship and taboos, commerce and trade various aspects. Compared with other parts of China, there is not much difference. Main thnic festivals include Catching the New Year Festival and Bizika Festival of Tujia ethnic minority, as well as Catching the Autumn of Miao ethnic minority, etc. 

Intangible Cultural Heritages and Its Heritors in Chongqing

By the end of 2014, Chongqing had 44 national intangible cultural heritages, 388 at the municipal level and 1,852 at the district and county level. Chongqing intangible cultural heritage includes folk literature, folk music, folk dance, folk art, traditional drama, folk art forms, traditional fine art, traditional skill, traditional medicine, folk customs and other items. Chongqing's national intangible cultural heritage includes folk tales of Zouma town, Youyang ancient songs, folk tales of Guangyang town, working song on Chuanjiang, Nanxi working song, Youyang folk songs, Sichuan opera, Liangshan lantern opera, Youyang waving dance, Sichuan Pingshu, Xiushan lantern, Fengdu temple fair, etc. Every intangible cultural heritage has its inheritors, who play a vital role in the promotion and inheritance of culture.

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Traditional Villages in Chongqing

At present, there are many traditional ethnic villages in Chongqing, mainly distributed in Youyang Tujia and Miao Autonomous CountyShizhu Tujia Autonomous County and Xiushan Tujia and Miao Autonomous County. Here below are several of them.

  • Yinxing Village in JInling Township of Shizhu County, Chongqing石柱土家族自治县金岭乡银杏村
  • Huanglong Village in Shijia Township of Shizhu County, Chongqing石柱土家族自治县石家乡黄龙村
  • Xincheng Village in Yuelai Town of Shizhu County, Chongqing石柱土家族自治县悦崃镇新城村
  • Minzu Village in Meijiang Town of Xiushan County, Chongqing秀山土家族苗族自治县梅江镇民族村
  • Dahekou Village in Cangling Town of Youyang County, Chongqing酉阳土家族苗族自治县苍岭镇大河口村
  • Hewan Village in Youshuihe Town of Youyang County, Chongqing酉阳土家族苗族自治县酉水河镇河湾村
  • Houxi Village in Youshuihe Town of Youyang County, Chongqing酉阳土家族苗族自治县酉水河镇后溪村

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Main Museums in Chongqing

As a city with profound historical background, the number of museums in Chongqing is beyond your imagination. A museum can let us know what happened in past. Every place has its own history, and museums record the historical changes. If you are interested in the history of Chongqing, the museums will be a good choice for you.

Chongqing Three Gorge Museum Chongqing Anti-Japanese War Ruins Museum Chongqing Red Rock Revolutionary History Museum
Chongqing Museum of Natural History Dazu Rock Carving Art Museum Baiheliang Underwater Museum
Chongqing Stilwell Museum Chongqing Bayu Folk Museum Chongqing Saner Hot Pot Museum
Chongqing Science and Technology Museum White Emperor City Museum Chongqing 3D Magic Art Museum
Chongqing Municipal Museum China Democratic Parties History Exhibition Hall Nie Rongzhen Exhibition Hall