Diversities of Religions

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Diversity of religions

PREFACE

Nowadays, there are many kinds of diversities existed in the world, including religions, festivals, cultures, customs, people, peoples, etc. In this essay, I would like to present a brief introduction upon the diversities mentioned above.

Firstly, I would like to introduce diversities in religions field.

Diversities of Religions:

In this part, I will introduce three kinds of main religions, which are Islam, Buddhism, and Christian.

A brief introduction to Islam

The word "Islam" is an Arabic word that means "peace, obedience, and submission." In a theological sense, it describes the submission of all humanity to the will of God. Any man or woman that accepts the lordship of the only true God, and submits completely to His will, is considered to be a Muslim. According to Islamic thought all people are born Muslim.

One of every five people in the world is a Muslim. That is based on a world population of 6,400,000,000 in 2004. Fifty two countries in the world have a majority Muslim population.

Spain was a Muslim country for eight centuries. Most Spaniards did not actually convert to Islam, but they were definitely influenced by Islamic culture. Spain brought some of this Islamic influence to the New World.

The Royal Chapel of Cholula in the Franciscan church of San Gabriel, not far from Puebla, Mexico, is an authentic copy of the great mosque of Cordoba, Spain.

Many words in Spanish come directly from the Arabic language. The word "ojalá" comes from the Arabic word "in sha'llah", which means "So be the will of Allah." Other examples of words in Spanish that c

Buddhism

There are many different forms of Buddhism, as it has flourished in so many different countries. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to know what Buddhism actually is since we hear of it mixed with certain customs, cultural nuances and habits of the people who follow it. Therefore it is very important to be able to check what real Buddhism is and what is not. How can we do this? Today my job is to try and answer this question and also to compare some of the different Buddhist traditions in the world today.

Sometimes people are confused as there are many different countries where Buddhism is practiced, and may think certain traditions are better or more authentic than others. Thus I think it is crucial to introduce Buddhism correctly. No matter how many traditions there are - in China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Tibet, Japan and so forth - they always must fall into two categories: Theravada and Mahayana. Of these, Mahayana is predominant in Tibet. Sometimes we speak of Vajrayana or the tantric school of Tibetan Buddhism; however, this really falls under the category of Mahayana, as the view is exactly the same, with Vajrayana using many skillful methods to allow practitioners to quickly progress along the path.

It is extremely important that we do not see Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism as being in any way contradictory. Tibetan Buddhism, though mainly Mahayana, also includes the Theravada teachings. Monasteries still emphasize comprehensive study of the Vinita, the teachings that talk about monastic discipline, which is common in Theravada Buddhism. In fact you cannot practice Buddhism without a thorough grounding in Theravada, even if you follow Mahayana.

It is also important to know how Buddhism is different from other religions, as well as the common ground shared with other religions. What does it mean to say you are Buddhist? It doesn't mean someone who is vegetarian, believes in karma and reincarnation or wears particular robes. It doesn't mean someone who visits temples or has taken certain vows. These things do not necessarily make you Buddhist. This does not mean Buddhists do not take vows and so forth - but anyone can wear robes or take vows. You may live in a temple and wear a robe, but still not be Buddhist if your view and conduct are not correct.

Simply put, if you have the view of Buddhism and try to follow the Buddha's teachings, then you are Buddhist. What is the Buddhist view? To understand this, you must know four things known as the four seals of the dharma. These four also tell us what makes Buddhism different from other religions or belief systems.

Christian

Christianity, stemming out of Judaism and developing primarily in the West, has become the largest religion of the world even though, except for Islam, it is the youngest major world religion. Approximately one in every three persons on earth is identified with Christianity.

A religion practiced by so many people naturally encompasses a wide variety of beliefs and practices. In general Christians share a common belief in the uniqueness of Jesus of Nazareth as a truly divine and truly human incarnate Son of God who is the savior of mankind. They believe each individual by their faith and life determines their eternal destiny--either in heaven or in hell.

Scholars believe that Jesus, the founder of Christianity, was born between 4 and 7 B. C. at Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth of Galilee. His contemporaries regarded him as the eldest son of Joseph, a carpenter, and his wife, Mary; but Matthew and Luke report that Jesus was born of a virgin. He grew up in a family of at least six other children. Roman Catholics maintain these were children of Joseph by an earlier marriage.

Since Jesus' parents were common people, it is assumed he attended the local synagogue school and was trained as a carpenter. The story of his discussion with the teachers of the law in Jerusalem when he was twelve suggests that he had an unusual interest and knowledge in religious matters. The next eighteen years are often called the silent years. Since Joseph drops out of the records at this point, it is assumed that he died during this period and that Jesus took over the management of the carpenter business along with the help of his brothers.

When Jesus was about thirty he began his ministry. The first public act was his baptism by his cousin, John the Baptist, in the Jordan River. Following his baptism, Jesus spent forty days in the Judean wilderness pondering the nature of his ministry. When he returned Jesus selected twelve apostles and spent three years preaching and teaching in Galilee, Judea, and Peres. His ministry was a balanced portrayal of the nature of God and service to man. Many were benefited by his miracles of healing. Peter described his life succinctly: "He went about doing well."

John Noss sums up Christianity by saying, "Christianity is not a way of looking into the past, but a way of going forward into the future; not an escape from the world into solitariness, but a way of spending one's life in order to find it; not a retreat into ultimate truth, but a redemptive mission, a way of salvation leading into the world and through the world, in the love of God and man.

Diversities of Festivals:

In this part, I would like to introduce diversities of festivals existed in three countries, which are Indonesia, England and China.

A: Christmas

Christmas in Indonesia is the time to celebrate and pray to Lord Jesus. To celebrate Christmas in Indonesia, many tourists and travelers from various corners of the world come to Indonesia.
Indonesia is predominantly a Christian nation. About 5% of the population is Christian. The people of Indonesia love to celebrate Christmas. Indonesia festivals and events are celebrated with much pomp and gaiety by locals as well as foreigners.

One month prior to Christmas in Indonesia people of Indonesia start shopping for Christmas. Caswell's and the other western-oriented supermarket chains stock turkeys, cranberry sauce and other Christmas goodies for the occasion. People throng to these stores in advance because these stores have limited stock.

To arrange for the perfect Christmas dinner people visit three or four different supermarkets in order to get all the ingredients, as one supermarket hardly has it all. Tropical pine trees can be purchased in Indonesia. The plastic variations are available in major department stores. Many department stores carry a wide selection of Christmas cards and decorations.

Gifts under the tree or filled stockings on Christmas morning are popular in every Christian household. Special lunches with friends, progressive dinners, pictures with Santa, gift exchanges, Christmas parties, special musical performances and many other activities are held on this special day. Christmas party with a gift exchange is how major multi national companies celebrate it in Indonesia.

There are scores of needy organizations that collect charitable donations on this day. Children go to an orphanage and deliver gifts or donations. The expatriate community organizes many holiday activities for their members. They even organize charity functions that benefit some of the less fortunate in the city. Women's groups organize Christmas bazaars that usually take place in November. This gives expatriates a chance to shop for Christmas presents before going on leave as well as raise funds to be donated to charity.

B: Independent Day

The Independence Day of Indonesia was officially proclaimed on 17th August, 1945 at 10.00 a.m. sharp on Friday. With this declaration started the five year diplomatic and armed-resistance of the Indonesian National Revolution, fighting against the Netherlands until they officially acknowledged Indonesia's independence in 1949.

The Indonesian Independence Day is a very big event for the people of Indonesia. Preparations for this patriotic day start weeks ahead before the 17th of August. All high-rise office buildings around town are decorated with large banners and lighted designs. Fences around the presidential palace and many government offices are draped in red and white streamers. The malls are all decorated in red and white and hold Independence Day sales for the people. Lots of money is spending by the city administration to create a unique series of red and white lighted decorations.

England

A: Plant Day

Arbor Day is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, United States and is celebrated in a number of countries.

It was founded officially by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872. By the 1920s each state in the United States had passed public laws that proclaimed a certain day to be Arbor Day or Arbor and Bird Day observance. The dates differ and were established depending on climate and suitable planting times.

Arbor Day is now a holiday that has an international observance and recognition in many countries.

Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut was responsible for globalizing it when he visited Japan in 1883 and delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. In that same year, the American Forestry Association made Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. He also brought his enthusiasm for Arbor Day to Australia, Canada and Europe.

Arbor Day reached its height of popularity on its 125th anniversary in 1997, when Col. David J. Wright, noticed that a Nebraska non profit called the National Arbor Day Foundation had taken the name of the holiday and commercialized it for their own use as a trademark for their publication "Arbor Day," so he countered their efforts, launched a website, and trademarked it for "public use celebrations" and defended the matter in a federal district court in the United States[2] to insure it was judged as property of the public domain, the case was settled in October 1999. Today as a result of Wright's efforts anyone can use the term Arbor Day and anyone can hold their own Arbor Day celebration.

B: Christmas

The English called Christmas “Christmas” which means Mass of Christ. This is not the birth of Christ that is raised, as in the Romance languages, but the Mass on Christmas Eve in Germany.

Christmas is celebrated in England with enthusiasm. Scandinavians and British are the champions of the Christmas festivities. The day after Christmas is a public holiday in England.

The “Christmas Carols” is the Christmas carol that children intone in the street to get some coins.

The “Christmas pudding“, which is eaten at the end of the Christmas meal, consists of a mix of dried fruit, sugar and alcohol covered with a white frosting of nearly one inch thick a wet and hot sauce to alcohol. This cake is preparing a month in advance, following the tradition five Sundays before Christmas, to macerate. It is traditional to hide 6 objects (ring, coin, button breeches …) in this cake.

It receives gifts and goodies in Christmas stockings.

The greeting cards are of Anglo, appeared in the fifteenth century, it does develop that eighteenth through the development of printing and lithography in particular. Everyone sends to people he knows and, in every home, the cards are hung from above the fireplace.

China

Spring festivals

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is often called the Lunar New Year, especially by people in mainland China and Taiwan. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Year-pass Eve".

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.

Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. Outside of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, Chinese New Year is also celebrated in countries with significant Han Chinese populations, such as Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post issues New Year's themed stamps in domestic and international rates.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will range from pigs, to ducks, to chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

National Day

The National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler (birthday, accession, removal etc). Often the day is not called” National Day” but serves and can be considered as one. The National Day will often be a national holiday.

Some countries have more than one National Day. For example, Pakistan has three National Days, none of which is named the” National Day”. This signals the use of a”class” of National Days, that are equally important in the foundation of the nation, and a”class” of less important official public holidays.

Importance attached to the National Day as well as the degree to which it is celebrated varies enormously from country to country. For example, Spain's National Day is held on October 12, the day celebrated in other countries as Columbus Day and Día de la Raza, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas.[1] A military parade is held in Madrid celebrating the occasion.[1] In France National Day is 14 July and is known as the Fête national (known outside of France as Bastille Day). It is widely celebrated and the French Tricolour is much in evidence, while the President of the Republic attends a military parade on the Champs-Élysées of Paris. In the United States, the Fourth of July celebrations are widely celebrated with parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues. In the Republic of Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, 17 March, has been the National Day and a Public Holiday for many years, and in recent years it has been observed as a full Public Holiday in Northern Ireland too. However, in the rest of the United Kingdom the constituent countries' patron saints' days are low-key affairs. In recent times campaigns have commenced to promote the National Days of England, Scotland and Wales, with St Andrew's Day being designated as an official bank holiday when the Scottish Parliament passed the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007. A National day for the United Kingdom has also been proposed in recent years.

Most countries have a fixed date National Day, but some have movable dates. An example here is Jamaica, which celebrates its National Day on the first Monday in August. This commemorates independence from the United Kingdom which was attained on Monday, 6 August 1962 - the first Monday in August of that year. Another example is Thailand which celebrates the birthday of the King on 5 December. This date will change on the accession of the heir to the throne.

Diversities of Cultures:

In this part, I would like to introduce diversities of cultures existed in three countries, which are England, China and Japan.

England

The culture of England refers to the idiosyncratic cultural norms of England and the English people. Because of England's dominant position within the United Kingdom in terms of population, English culture is often difficult to differentiate from the culture of the United Kingdom as a whole. However, there are some cultural practices that are associated specifically with England.

Architecture and gardens

The Neolithic peoples of what would become England constructed many impressive stone circles and earthworks; of these, the largest and most famous is Stonehenge, believed by many English people and foreigners alike to hold an iconic place in the landscape of England. Specifically English architecture begins with the architecture of the Anglo-Saxons; at least fifty surviving English churches are of Anglo-Saxon origin, although in some cases the Anglo-Saxon part is small and much-altered. All except one timber church are built of stone or brick, and in some cases show evidence of reused Roman work. The architectural character of Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical buildings ranges from Coptic-influenced architecture in the early period; Early Christian basilica influenced architecture; to, in the later Anglo-Saxon period, an architecture characterized by pilaster-strips, blank arcading, baluster shafts and triangular-headed openings. Almost no secular work remains above ground.

Other buildings such as cathedrals and parish churches are associated with a sense of traditional Englishness, as is often the palatial 'stately home'. Many people are interested in the English country house and the rural lifestyle, as evidenced by visits to properties managed by English Heritage and the National Trust.

Landscape gardening as developed by Capability Brown set an international trend for the English garden. Gardening, and visiting gardens, are regarded as typically English pursuits, fuelled somewhat by the perception of England as a nation of eccentric amateurs and autodidacts.

Art

English art was dominated by imported artists throughout much of the Renaissance, but in the eighteenth century a native tradition became much admired. It is often considered to be typified by landscape painting, such as the work of J.M.W. Turner and John Constable. Portraitists like Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth are also significant. Hogarth also developed a distinctive style of satirical painting.

Literature

English literature begins with Anglo-Saxon literature, which was written in Old English. For many years, Latin and French were the preferred literary languages of England, but in the medieval period there was a flourishing of literature in Middle English; Geoffrey Chaucer is the most famous writer of this period. The Elizabethan era is sometimes described as the golden age of English literature, as numerous great poets were writing in English, and the Elizabethan theatre produced William Shakespeare, often considered the English national poet.

Due to the expansion of English into a world language during the British Empire, literature is now written in English across the world. Writers often associated with England or for expressing Englishness include Shakespeare (who produced two tetralogies of history plays about the English kings), Jane Austen, Arnold Bennett, and Rupert Brooke (whose poem "Grant Chester" is often considered quintessentially English). Other writers are associated with specific regions of England; these include Charles Dickens (London), Thomas Hardy (Wessex), A. E. Housman (Shropshire), and the Lake Poets (the Lake District). In the lighter vein, Agatha Christie's mystery novels are outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible.

Music

England has a long and rich musical history. The United Kingdom has, like most European countries, undergone a roots revival in the last half of the 20th century. English music has been an instrumental and leading part of this phenomenon, which peaked at the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s.

The achievements of the Anglican choral tradition following on from 16th century composers such as Thomas Tallis, John Taverner and William Byrd have tended to overshadow instrumental composition. The semi-operatic innovations of Henry Purcell did not lead to a native operatic tradition, but George Frederick Handel found important royal patrons and enthusiastic public support in England. The rapturous receptions afforded by audiences to visiting musical celebrities such as Haydn often contrasted with the lack of recognition for home-grown talent. However, the emergence of figures such as Edward Elgar and Arthur Sullivan in the 19th century showed a new vitality in English music. In the 20th century, Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippett emerged as internationally-recognized opera composers, and Ralph Vaughan Williams and others collected English folk tunes and adapted them to the concert hall. Cecil Sharp was a leading figure in the English folk revival.

Finally, a new trend emerged out of Liverpool in 1962. The Beatles became the most popular musicians of their time, and in the composing duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, popularized the concept of the self-contained music act. Before the Beatles, very few popular singers composed the tunes they performed. The "Fob Four" opened the doors for other English acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Kinks, The Who, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd to the globe.

Some of England's leading contemporary artists include Elton John, George Michael, Blur, The Spice Girls, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, Robbie Williams, Oasis, Radiohead, David Bowie, Coldplay and Muse.

China

The Culture of China is one of the world's oldest and most complex cultures. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces.

Identity

Today there are 56 distinct ethnic groups in China.[3] In terms of numbers, however, the pre-eminent ethnic group is the Han Chinese. Throughout history, many groups have been assimilated into neighboring ethnicities or disappeared without a trace. At the same time, many within the Han identity have maintained distinct linguistic and regional cultural traditions. The term Zhonghua Minzu has been used to describe the notion of Chinese nationalism in general. Much of the traditional cultural identity within the community has to do with distinguishing the family name.

Regional

Traditional Chinese Culture covers large geographical territories with each region is usually divided into distinct sub-cultures. Each region is often represented by three ancestral items. For example Guangdong is represented by chenpi, aged ginger and hay. Others include ancient cities like Lin'an (Hangzhou), which includes tea leaf, bamboo shoot trunk and hickory nut.

Society

Since the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors period, some form of Chinese monarch has been the main ruler above all. Different periods of history have different names for the various positions within society. Conceptually each imperial or feudal period are similar, with the government and military officials ranking high in the hierarchy, and the rest of the population under regular Chinese law.[7] Since the late Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE), traditional Chinese society was organized into a hierarchic system of socio-economic classes known as the four occupations. However, this system did not cover all social groups while the distinctions between all groups became blurred ever since the commercialization of Chinese culture in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE). Ancient Chinese education also has a long history; ever since the Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE) educated candidates prepared for the Imperial examinations that drafted exam graduates into government as scholar-bureaucrats. Trades and crafts were usually taught by a shifu. The female historian Ban Zhao wrote the Lessons for Women in the Han Dynasty and outlined the four virtues women must abide to, while scholars such as Zhu Xi and Cheng Yi would expand upon this. Chinese marriage and Taoist sexual practices are some of the customs and rituals found in society.

Values

Most social values are derived from Confucianism and Taoism. The subject of which school was the most influential is always debated as many concepts such as Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism and many others have come about. Reincarnation and other rebirth concept is a reminder of the connection between real-life and the after-life. In Chinese business culture, the concept of guanxi, indicating the primacy of relations over rules, has been well documented.

Language

The first 4,000 years of Spoken Chinese encompassed both Old Chinese and Middle Chinese, after which it began to split into various dialects and languages about 1,000 years ago. In the Ming Dynasty standard Mandarin was nationalized. Even so, it wasn't until the Republic of China era in the 1900s when there was any noticeable result in promoting a common unified language in China.

The ancient written standard was Classical Chinese. It was used for thousands of years, but was mostly reserved for scholars and intellectuals. By the 20th century, millions of citizens, especially those outside of the imperial court were illiterate [7]. Only after the May 4th Movement did the push for Vernacular Chinese begin. This allowed common citizens to read since it was modeled after the linguistics and phonology of a spoken language.

Literature

Chinese literature began with record keeping and divination on Oracle Bones. The extensive collection of books that have been preserved since the Zhou Dynasty demonstrate just how advanced the intellectuals were at one time. Indeed, the era of the Zhou Dynasty is often looked to as the touchstone of Chinese cultural development. The Five Cardinal Points are the foundation for almost all major studies. Concepts covered within the Chinese classic texts present a wide range of subjects including poetry, astrology, astronomy, calendar, constellations and many others. Some of the most important early texts include I Ching and Shujing within the Four Books and Five Classics. Many Chinese concepts such as Yin and Yang, Qi, Four Pillars of Destiny in relation to heaven and earth were all theorized in the dynastic periods.

Notable Confucianists, Taoists and scholars of all classes have made significant contributions to and from documenting history to authoring saintly concepts that seem hundred of years ahead of time. Many novels such as Four Great Classical Novels spawned countless fictional stories. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, Chinese culture would embark on a new era with Vernacular Chinese for the common citizens. Hu Shih and Lu Xun would be pioneers in modern literature.

Architecture

Chinese architecture, examples of which can be found from over 2,000 years ago, has long been a hallmark of the culture. There are certain features common to Chinese architecture, regardless of specific region or use. The most important is its emphasis on width, as the wide halls of the Forbidden City serve as an example. In contrast, Western architecture emphasize on height, though there are exceptions such as pagodas.

Another important feature is symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur as it applies to everything from palaces to farmhouses. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow, to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself. Feng shui has played an important part in structural development.

Cuisine

The overwhelmingly large variety mainly comes from the emperors hosting a banquet of 100 dishes each meal. A countless number of imperial kitchen staff and concubines were involved in the food preparation process. Over time, many dishes became part of the everyday-citizen culture. Some of the highest quality restaurants with recipes close to the dynastic periods include Fangshan restaurant in Beihai Park Beijing and the Oriole Pavilion. Arguably all branches of Hong Kong eastern style or even American Chinese food are in some ways rooted from the original dynastic cuisines.

Japan

The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jomon culture to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America. After several waves of immigration from the continent and nearby Pacific islands (see History of Japan), the inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world under the Tokugawa shogunate until the arrival of "The Black Ships" and the Meiji era.

Japanese language

The Japanese language has always played a significant role in Japanese culture. The language is spoken mainly in Japan but also in some Japanese emigrant communities around the world. It is an agglutinative language and the sound inventory of Japanese is relatively small but has a lexically distinct pitch-accent system. Early Japanese is known largely on the basis of its state in the 8th century, when the three major works of Old Japanese were compiled. The earliest attestation of the Japanese language is in a Chinese document from 252 A.D.

Japanese is written with a combination of three scripts: hiragana which were derived from the Chinese cursive script, katakana, which was derived as shorthand from Chinese characters, and kanji, imported from China. The Latin alphabet, rōmaji, is also often used in modern Japanese, especially for company names and logos, advertising, and when inputting Japanese into a computer. The Hindu-Arabic numerals are generally used for numbers, but traditional Sino-Japanese numerals are also commonplace.

Painting

Painting has been an art in Japan for a very long time: the brush is a traditional writing tool, and the extension of that to its use as an artist's tool was probably natural. Chinese papermaking was introduced to Japan around the 7th century by Damjing and several monks of Goguryeo,[1] later washi was developed from it. Native Japanese painting techniques are still in use today, as well as techniques adopted from continental Asia and from the West.

Calligraphy

The flowing, brush-drawn Japanese language lends itself to complicated calligraphy. Calligraphic art is often too esoteric for Western audiences and therefore general exposure is very limited. However in East Asian countries, the rendering of text itself is seen as a traditional art form as well as a means of conveying written information. The written work can consist of phrases, poems, stories, or even single characters. The style and format of the writing can mimic the subject matter, even to the point of texture and stroke speed. In some cases it can take over one hundred attempts to produce the desired effect of a single character but the process of creating the work is considered as much an art as the end product itself.

Sculpture

Traditional Japanese sculptures mainly consisted of Buddhist images, such as Tathagata, Bodhisattva and Myō-ō. The oldest sculpture in Japan is a wooden statue of Amitābha at the Zenkō-ji temple. In the Nara period, Buddhist statues were made by the national government to boost its prestige. These examples are seen in present-day Nara and Kyoto, most notably a colossal bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana in the Tōdai-ji temple.

Wood has traditionally been used as the chief material in Japan, along with the traditional Japanese architectures. Statues are often lacquered, gilded, or brightly painted, although there are little traces on the surfaces. Bronze and other metals are also used. Other materials, such as stone and pottery, have had extremely important roles in the plebeian beliefs.

Traditional clothing

Traditional Japanese clothing distinguishes Japan from all other countries around the world. The Japanese word kimono means "something one wears" and they are the traditional garments of Japan. Originally, the word kimono was used for all types of clothing, but eventually, it came to refer specifically to the full-length garment also known as the naga-gi, meaning "long-wear", that is still worn today on special occasions by women, men, and children. Kimono in this meaning plus all other items of traditional Japanese clothing is known collectively as wafuku which means "Japanese clothes" as opposed to yofuku (Western-style clothing). Kimonos come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes. Men mainly wear darker or more muted colors, while women tend to wear brighter colors and pastels, and, especially for younger women, often with complicated abstract or floral patterns.

The kimono of a women who is married (Tomesode) differs from the kimono of a women who is not married (Furisode). The Tomes ode sets itself apart because the patterns do not go above the waistline. The Foreside can be recognized by its extremely long sleeves spanning anywhere from 39 to 42 inches, it is also the most formal kimono an unwed woman wears. The Foreside advertises that a woman is not only of age but also single.

The style of kimono also changes with the season, in spring kimonos are vibrantly colored with springtime flowers embroidered on them. In the fall, kimono colors are not as bright, with fall patterns. Flannel kimonos are ideal for winter; they are a heavier material to help keep you warm.

One of the more elegant kimonos is the uchikake, a long silk over garment worn by the bride in a wedding ceremony. The chukka is commonly embellished with birds or flowers using silver and gold thread.

Kimonos do not come in specific sizes as most western dresses do. The sizes are only approximate, and a special technique is used to fit the dress appropriately.

The obi is a very important part of the kimono. Obi is a decorative sash that is worn by Japanese men and women, although it can be worn with many different traditional outfits, it is most commonly worn with the kimono. Most women wear a very large elaborate obi, while men typically don a more thin and conservative obi.

Most Japanese men only wear the kimono at home or in a very laid back environment, however it is acceptable for a man to wear the kimono when he is entertaining guests in his home. For a more formal event a Japanese man might wear the haori and hakama, a half coat and divided skirt. The hakama is tied at the waist, over the kimono and ends near the ankle. Hakims were initially intended for men only, but today it is acceptable for women to wear them as well. Hakama can be worn with types of kimono, excluding the summer version, yukata. The lighter and simpler casual-wear version of kimono often worn in summer or at home is called yukata.

Formal kimonos are typically worn in several layers, with number of layers, visibility of layers, sleeve length, and choice of pattern dictated by social status, season, and the occasion for which the kimono is worn. Because of the mass availability, most Japanese people wear western style clothing in their everyday life, and kimonos are mostly worn for festivals, and special events. As a result, most young women in Japan are not able to put the kimono on themselves. Many older women offer classes to teach these young women how to don the traditional clothing.

Happi is another type of traditional clothing, but it is not famous worldwide like the kimono. A hippie (or happy coat) is a straight sleeved coat that is typically imprinted with the family crest, and was a common coat for firefighters to wear.

Japan also has very distinct footwear. Tabi, an ankle high sock, is often worn with the kimono. Taby are designed to be worn with gate a type of thronged footwear. Geta are sandals mounted on wooden blocks held to the foot by a piece of fabric that slides between the toes. Gaeta is worn both by men and women with the kimono or Yucatan.

Diversities of Customs:

We are living in an excited time in modern human history! There are numerous magazines, newspaper articles, cable channels and television programs set aside for travelers who want to experience various levels of adventure related to customs and cultures. I am not an expert on all types of customs and cultures. However, what I can safely say is that I once lived in South America and I can certainly add my two bits to the conversation in regards to adventure travel.

Being born and raised in South America can certainly add to what I am about to say in regards to traveling to the Amazon Region. The Amazon River carries the largest volume of water is the world flowing about 3,300 miles from the Andes through Northern Brazil to the Atlantic Ocean. A traveler wishing to visit the Amazon Region will expect a trip of a life time! The indigenous people of the Amazon Region are made of a number of tribes speaking distinct languages and each tribe has its own culture and custom.

It is not easy to travel into the heart of the Amazon. The terrain is a mixture of thick rain forest, mountains, swamps, small rivers and waterfalls. There is also a large abundance of wild animals, reptiles (venomous and no venomous), poisonous plants and man eating ants. There is a plant called "Bema" and some tribes use this plant to create fear. Legend says that some Bema plants can actually make a visitor in the Rain Forest lose their way. The plant gives off a special scent that traps its un-looker into a trance-like state. It is also said that the only people that can actually help a lost visitor find their way is the local tribes within the area.

Some tribes in the Amazon are capable of shooting poisoned arrows or blow darts with their points dipped in the poison of some species of frogs and special plants. The staple diet of some tribes is mainly fruits, wild nuts vegetables and wild meat. There are also some tribes who plant cassava or yucca and make intoxicating drinks from this vegetable. Traveling to the Amazon is not for the faint of heart. Travelers need to also be aware of the large infestation of mosquitoes which carry malaria. There are guided tours specially set up for travelers wishing to visit the Amazon. However, it is always necessary to check with your travel agent before you decide to visit this part of South America.

Dubai Customs has launched "Tarjim" service which allows clients to submit complaints in nine languages; Spanish, French, Chinese, Persian, Indian, Urdu and Russian besides the two existing languages; English and Arabic.

Coping with the variety of cultures and the diverse linguistic backgrounds in the UAE and enhancing the quality of its services, Dubai Customs realizes the obstacles posed for some clients who cannot express their needs well in Arabic or English; therefore, the Department has launched these two new initiatives to further communication ties with all society members and to fulfill clients' daily needs at the Department.

Diversities of People:

In this part, I would like to give an introduction of Black man and White man.

Black man:

The term black person usually refers to a racial group of humans with skin colors that range from light brown to nearly black. It is also used to categorize a number of diverse populations together based on historical and prehistorically ancestral relationships. Some definitions of the term include only people of relatively recent Sub Saharan African descent (see African diaspora). Among the members of this group, brown skin is most often accompanied by the expression of natural afro-hair texture. Other definitions of the term "black people" extend to any of the populations characterized by dark skin, a definition that also includes certain populations in Oceania and Southeast Asia

In the first 200 years that black people had been in the United States, they commonly referred to themselves as Africans. In Africa, people primarily identified themselves by tribe or ethnic group (closely allied to language) and not by skin color. Individuals would be Asante, Igbo, Bakongo or Wolof. But when Africans were brought to the Americas they were forced to give up their ethnic affiliations for fear of uprisings. The result was the Africans had to intermingle with other Africans from different ethnic groups. This is significant as Africans came from a vast geographic region, the West African coastline stretching from Senegal to Angola and in some cases from the south east coast such as Mozambique. A new identity and culture was born that incorporated elements of the various tribal groups and of European cultural heritage, resulting in fusions such as the Black church and Black English. This new identity was now based on skin color and African ancestry rather than any one tribal group.[12]

In March 1807, Britain, which largely controlled the Atlantic, declared the trans-atlantic slave trade illegal, as did the United States. (The latter prohibition took effect January 1, 1808, the earliest date on which Congress had the power to do so under Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution.)

By that time, the majority of black people were U.S.-born, so use of the term "African" became problematic. Though initially a source of pride, many blacks feared its continued use would be a hindrance to their fight for full citizenship in the US. They also felt that it would give ammunition to those who were advocating repatriating black people back to Africa. In 1835 black leaders called upon black Americans to remove the title of "African" from their institutions and replace it with "Negro" or "Colored American". A few institutions however elected to keep their historical names such as African Methodist Episcopal Church. "Negro" and "colored" remained the popular terms until the late 1960s.[38]

The term black was used throughout but not frequently as it carried a certain stigma. In his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech,[39] Martin Luther King, Jr. uses the terms Negro 15 times and black 4 times. Each time he uses black it is in parallel construction with white (e.g., black men and white men).[40] With the successes of the civil rights movement a new term was needed to break from the past and help shed the reminders of legalized discrimination. In place of Negro, black was promoted as standing for racial pride, militancy and power. Some of the turning points included the use of the term "Black Power" by Kamet Toured (Stokely Carmichael) and the release of James Brown's song "Say It loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud".

In 1988 Jesse Jackson urged Americans to use the term African American because the term has a historical cultural base. Since then African American and black have essentially a coequal status. There is still much controversy over which term is more appropriate. Some strongly reject the term African American in preference for black citing that they have little connection with Africa.[who?] Others believe the term black is inaccurate because African Americans have a variety of skin tones.[41][not in citation given] Surveys show that when interacting with each other African Americans prefer the term black, as it is associated with intimacy and familiarity. The term "African American" is preferred for public and formal use.[42] The appropriateness of the term "African American" is further confused, however, by increases in black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. The more recent black immigrants may sometimes view themselves, and be viewed, as culturally distinct from native descendants of African slaves.[43]

The U.S. census race definitions say a black is a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black, African Am., or Negro," or who provide written entries such as African American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian. However, the Census Bureau notes that these classifications are socio-political constructs and should not be interpreted as scientific or anthropological.[44]

A considerable portion of the U.S. population identified as black actually has some Native American or European American ancestry. For instance, genetic studies of African American people show an ancestry that is on average 17-18% European.

White man:

White people (in American English also Caucasian) is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin. Rather than a straightforward description of skin color, the term white also functions as a color terminology for race, often referring narrowly to people claiming ancestry exclusively from Europe.

The definition of a 'white person' differs according to geographical and historical context, and various social constructions of whiteness have had implications in terms of national identity, consanguinity, public policy, religion, population statistics, racial segregation/affirmative action, eugenics, racial marginalization and racial quotas. The concept has been applied with varying degrees of formality and internal consistency in disciplines including: sociology, politics, genetics, biology, medicine, biomedicine, language, culture, and law.

A common definition of a 'white person' is a person of primarily, or wholly, European ancestry. However, the term is sometimes used more broadly, so that it becomes similar to the concept of the Caucasian race or Caucasoid people, which includes people with ancestry from the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Central, and South Asia, who share certain physiological characteristics and genetics with Europeans beyond skin color. As Alastair Bonnet explains, a strong "current of scientific research supports the theory that Europeans were but one expression of a wider racial group (termed sometimes Caucasian), a group that included peoples from Asia and North Africa". Bonnet, does, however, note that this is not a commonplace definition: in Europe and North America the inclusion of non-Europeans is a "technicality little favored outside certain immigration bureaucracies and traditional anthropology."

Raj Bhopal and Liam Donaldson state that white people are a heterogeneous group, and the term white should therefore be abandoned as a classification for the purposes of epidemiology and health research, and identifications based on geographic origin and migration history be used instead.

Australia

From 1788, when the first British colony in Australia was founded, until the early 19th century, most immigrants to Australia were British and Irish convicts. These were augmented by small numbers of free settlers from Britain, Ireland and other European countries. However, until the mid-19th century, there were few restrictions on immigration, although members of ethnic minorities tended to be assimilated into the Anglo-Celtic populations.

People of many nationalities, including many non-white people, immigrated to Australia during the goldrushes of the 1850s. However, the vast majority was still white and the gold rushes inspired the first racist activism and policy, directed mainly at Chinese people.

From the late 19th century, the Colonial/State and later federal governments of Australia restricted all permanent immigration to the country by non-Europeans. These policies became known as the "White Australia policy", which was consolidated and enabled by the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, but was never universally applied. Immigration inspectors were empowered to ask immigrants to take dictation from any European language as a test for admittance, a test used in practice to exclude people from Asia, Africa, and some European and South American countries, depending on the political climate.

Although they were not the prime targets of the policy, it was not until after World War II that large numbers of southern European and eastern European immigrants were admitted for the first time.[52] Following this, the White Australia Policy was relaxed in stages: non-European nationals who could demonstrate European descent were admitted (e.g. descendants of European colonizers and settlers from Latin American or Africa), as were autochthonous inhabitants of various nations from the Middle East, most significantly from Lebanon. In 1973, all immigration restrictions based on race and/or geographic origins were officially terminated.

Brazil

Recent censuses in Brazil are conducted on the basis of self-identification. In the 2000 census, 53% of Brazilians (approximately 93 million people in 2000; around 100 million as of 2006) were white and 39% pardo or multiracial Brazilians. White is applied as a term to people of European descent (including European Jews), and Middle Easterners of all faiths. The census shows a trend of fewer Brazilians of African descent (blacks and pardons) identifying as white people as their social status increases. Demographers estimate that of the Brazilians who classify themselves as White, as many as 15 percent have enough of a trace of African ancestry to be considered Black by methods used to classify groups in the United States.

Canada

In the results of Statistics Canada's 2001 Canadian Census, white is one category in the population groups' data variable, derived from data collected in question 19 (the results of this question are also used to derive the visible minority group's variable).

In the 1995 Employment Equity Act, '"members of visible minorities" mean persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in color'. In the 2001 Census, persons who selected Chinese, South Asian, African, Filipino, Latin American, Southeast Asian, Arab, West Asian, Middle Eastern, Japanese or Korean were included in the visible minority population.[57] A separate census question on "cultural or ethnic origin" (question 17) does not refer to skin color.

Chile

In 2009, Chile had an estimated population of 16,970,000, of which approximately 8.8 million or 52,7% are white european, with matzos' estimated at 44%.[59] Other studies, found a white majority that would exceed 64% to 90% of the Chilean population. However, another study that analyzed the genotype of the Chilean population showed that 30% are white, the matzos predominantly white (castizos) ancestry is estimated at 65%.[63] Chile's various waves of immigrants consisted Spanish, Italians, Irish, French, Greeks, Germans, English, Scots, Croats, and Palestinian arrivals.

The largest ethnic group in Chile arrived from Spain and the Basque regions in the south of France. Estimates of the number of descendants from Basques in Chile range from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,500,000).

In 1848 an important and substantial German immigration took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean government for the colonization of the southern region, the Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians), strongly influenced the cultural and racial composition of the southern provinces of Chile. The German Embassy in Chile estimated 500.000 to 600.000 Chileans are of German origin.

It is estimated that near the 5% of the Chilean population is of Asian origin immigrants descendant, chiefly of the Middle East (i.e. Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Middle East Armenians), are around 800,000. Note that Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of the nation of Israel may be included. Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant. Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile.

Other historically significant immigrant groups include: Croatia whose number of descendants today is estimated to be 380,000 persons, the equivalent of 2.4% of the population. Other authors claim, on the other hand, that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population must have some Croatian ancestry.[83] Over 700,000 Chileans may have British (English, Scottish and Welsh) origin. 4.5% of Chile's population.[84] Chileans of Greek descent is estimated 90,000 to 120,000. Most of them live either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area, and Chile is one of the 5 countries with the most descendants of Greeks in the world. The descendants of Swiss add 90,000[87] and it is estimated that about 5% of the Chilean population has some French ancestry.[88] 600,000 to 800,000 are descendants Italians. Other groups of European descendants have followed, but are found in smaller numbers. They did transform the country culturally, economically and politically.

Costa Rica

In 2009, Costa Rica had an estimated population of 4,509,290. White people make up 85% and Mestizos 10% of the population. 3% of the remainder is Black people, 1% is Amerindians, and 1% is Chinese. White Costa Ricans are mostly of Spanish ancestry, but there are also significant numbers of Costa Ricans descended from Italian, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, Lebanese and Polish families, as well a sizable Jewish community.

Diversities of Peoples:

In this part, I would like to present two kinds of peoples, which are Miao zu and the Han nationality.

Miao zu

The Miao are one of the most ancient of China's nationalities, tracing their origins back more than 4,000 years. Prior to modernization of farming methods, they grew millet and buckwheat using the slash-and-burn methods. The Miao language has three main dialects, but there was no unified written script until 1956. Religions include nature and ancestor worship and Christianity.

Dispersed from southern China across northern Vietnam, Laos, and into Thailand, the Miao (also known as the Hmong), vary in dialect, styles of farming, and designation: Black, White, Red, and blue, Flowery, and Cowries Shell Miao among others. Forced southward by the Han, often despised and exploited, many settled in distant mountains, raising millet and buckwheat by slash-and-burn farming, their diet supplemented by domestic animals and hunting. Modernization, improved farming methods, organization of communes, and road building has been made difficult by the ragged terrain in which the Miao are scattered. The Miao are found in the Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Sichuan, Gansu, Guizhou, Qinghai, Hunan, Guangdong, and Yunnan Provinces and the Guangxi Autonomous Region. They are part of the Hmong-Yao language family linguistic group.

About 195 km is almost directly east of Guiyang in the town of Kaila. Kaila is a fairly uninspiring place but the area is host to a large number of minority festivals, over 130 annually. One of the largest is the Lusheng Festival, held from the 11th to the 18th of the first lunar month. The lusheng is a reed instrument used by the Miao people. Activities include playing the lusheng, dancing, drumming, bull fighting, and horse racing. Participants are said to number 30,000. The festival is held in Danxi. Other festivals are held midway in the 7th lunar month and in their New Year. Their New Year is celebrated in the first four days of the 10th lunar month by some 50,000 people.

About 752,000 Miao live in Yunnan Province scattered over eighty-seven counties. They are good at weaving, embroidery and Batik. Their excellent craftsmanship is well known.

Han zu

Han Chinese is an ethnic group from China. 90% of the people living in China and more than 97% of the people in Taiwan are Han. Out of the entire human population in the world, 19% are Han. Han Zu in Chinese means "Han ethnic group." Another name for Han Zu can be Han Ren, which means "Han people,”.

The name "Han" comes from the Han Dynasty that united China as one country. During the Han Dynasty, many tribes felt that they belonged to the same ethnic group. Also, the Han Dynasty is said to be the high point in Chinese civilization. During the Han Dynasty, China was able to increase its power and influences to other parts of Asia.

There are some slangs and different names for Han amongst some Han people, especially in southern China and in Vietnam. In languages like Cantonese, Hakka and Min Nan, the word "Táng Rén" is also used. "Táng Rén" is written as and it literally means "the people of Tang." It is pronounced "Tong Yan" in Cantonese comes from another Chinese dynasty, the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty is also another peak point of the Chinese civilization. Within English-speaking Han communities, the word "Chinatown" in Chinese is "Táng Rén Jiē" which means "street of the Tang people."

Another phrase used by the Han people, especially overseas Chinese, is "Hua Ren".

Culture

Han China is one of the world's oldest civilizations. Chinese culture dates back thousands of years. Some Han people believe they share common ancestors, distantly related to the Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor, who existed thousands of years ago. Hence, some people of Han call themselves "Descendants of the Yan Emperor" or "Descendants of the Yellow Emperor."

Throughout the history of China, Chinese culture has been influenced by Confucianism. Confucianism was the official philosophy throughout most of Imperial China's history, and becoming a professional of Confucian texts was needed to be part of the imperial bureaucracy.

Summary

There is much diversity in different conditions. We should to know about them in our life. When we know these diversities, we had better live happily and peacefully and we can also learn much knowledge from these diversities. As a person, when we come to other countries, we must know about the difference between the country and our country, and then we should learn them, for examples, we must know about customs, cultures, religions, and so forth. Like me, I am Indonesia now; I must learn about this country's things, in Indonesia, we can't use our left hand when we give something to others. It is respect to Indonesian people. And then, we shouldn't eat pork, because Islam can't have pork and so on. In a word, we should know many things in different countries, like this, we can do respect all people who come different countries, provinces, cities.

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