Asia, the world’s largest and most populous continent, contains more than 60% of the world’s population and accounts for nearly one-third of its gross domestic product (GDP). While Asia’s history dates back some 15,000 years ago when the first farmers started growing crops in China, it has undergone drastic changes in recent decades due to the growth of free markets in places like South Korea and Taiwan. Here are eight fascinating facts about Asian culture that you may not have known.
Asia is much older than the concept of civilization
The concept of civilization began with the emergence of the great Middle Eastern civilizations, and as you might expect, Asia is much older than that. The oldest civilizations found in Asia are pre-historic, meaning they existed before written history. For example, Göbekli Tepe is considered to be the world’s first temple because it was built 12 thousand years ago.
Over 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia
As of 2018, there are over 4.4 billion people living in Asia. Roughly 60% of the world’s population live in this region. Around two-thirds of those living in Asia reside on the continent. The rest is scattered around island countries such as Japan and Indonesia. With so many people inhabiting the region, it has made a huge impact on culture, cuisine, and history—in addition to making a huge impact on global affairs and economics.
In Japan, they celebrate Obon in August or September every year
During this time, the spirit of loved ones who have passed are believed to return to their family and friends for a short time. Buddhist temples all over Japan are lit with candles and paper lanterns every evening during Obon. People make offerings and set up small bowls of water for the spirits so they don’t get thirsty. People will also light incense sticks, take off their shoes, walk up to the temple steps, clap twice before praying and making an offering.
Shinto means way of the gods, not religion as we think about it today
Some people call Shinto the way of the gods, but it’s not a religion like Christianity or Islam. It’s closer to philosophy because people don’t worship idols or anything and it focuses on how humans can maintain harmony with nature. What are some other fascinating facts about Asia you may not know?
The Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters that mean danger and opportunity
Feng shui is a practice originating in the philosophy of Taoism and developed in ancient China. Feng shui practitioners believe that by making small changes to a living space, one can change one’s luck and destiny for the better. One of the traditional customs that many feng shui experts still endorse is keeping mirrors covered with cloth, because it’s believed that this can trap bad energy coming from the surroundings inside the mirror instead of dispersing it through the room.
Japanese Tea Ceremony is Serious Business
One of the most famous rituals in Japanese culture is the Tea Ceremony. It’s said that there are more than one hundred and fifty ways to brew the perfect cup of tea, but on a practical level, most westerners are taught how to mix a basic green tea or black tea. While it’s not impossible to replicate a good cup of tea in the west, what you’re missing out on is all the drama and artistic elements.
What does Kaidan mean? It refers to a story about a supernatural event.
In the Japanese language, Kaidan means a supernatural or mysterious event. One of the most famous tales of horror comes from Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1964), which contains four tales collected from old Japanese folk tales, Buddhist legends, and literary sources that describe fantastic visions of ghosts, monsters, and goblins.
These are just some examples to help you understand these fascinating facts about Asian culture
They go by their middle name: Most people in Japan have a surname and a given name, but the majority of them will use their given name as their official first name and put their surname last, meaning that they go by their middle name. 2. The popularity of tattoos is widespread: There are certain regions of Asia where tattoos are more popular than others, such as Papua New Guinea where there is such a large number of tattoos in the rural areas that 95% of adults there have at least one tattoo.
What is unique about Asian culture?
- Women in East Asia’s history have generally been relegated to a more domestic role, while their Western counterparts have made strides towards becoming intellectuals and working professionals.
- Japan has the oldest continuous legislative body in the world – The National Diet, which was formed in 1888. The country has only experienced a six-month break when it lost power during WWII.
What is the best fact about Asia?
The best thing about Asia is the cultural variety. Because of Asia’s size, and the immense range of cultures encompassed within it, you can find a culture that’s just right for you-whatever your heart desires. The Western conception of one size fits all simply doesn’t work in this region, which is why many travelers are choosing to spend their vacations here in order to experience the unique cultural melting pot that makes up this continent.
An incredible richness and depth are contained in the culture of Asia. There is so much to know, and this list barely scratches the surface. It may seem daunting, but that is a good thing; when you look at how many topics there are to learn about and explore, you can’t help but feel curious about what’s out there.