This post reviews our personal experiences with hobbies after a prolonged stay in China.
On several occasions, we have heard that the Chinese (or, more precisely, the new generations of Chinese) hardly have any hobbies. Although it is possible that among the youngest, the main leisure activity may be playing video games or watching programs or series on the mobile, a random walk through any park or street in China provides an immediate opposite impression of the interest that the rest of the generations They have for all kinds of hobbies. From most social pursuits such as tai chi (taijiquan) first thing in the morning or ballroom dancing (of any kind) in the late afternoon to card games (with and without bets) or mahjong at any impromptu indoor or outdoor table. Without forgetting the most youthful and usually nocturnal karaoke (regularly practised in the popular KTV venues). It is also common to see them carrying out numerous other individual hobbies such as flying kites or practising calligraphy, as well as as a couple, either playing badminton (with or without a net) or ping pong, both considered national sports with the permission of basketball.
Hobby in Mandarin is written ai hao (爱好), literally love or good taste, which gives an idea of the importance they attach to it and the positive effects they expect from its practice. That is why it is not difficult, in addition to the above, to discover a new type of hobby every day as the Chinese yoyo (its European variant is known as diabolo), the Go board game, the Bangko dance or any of the many traditional musical instruments. Chinese (from the ku-chin or zither with seven strings to the chang-chin, the only string and percussion instrument)
In this post, we expand information about hobbies and hobbies in China.
In 2016, the Big Data Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences published the first report on Chinese people’s interests and hobbies.
According to this study, although 95% of the population has interests and hobbies, only 14% put them into practice, the main ones being listening to music, playing sports and reading, in that order of priority. Hobbies vary according to age, and while young people prefer watching movies, playing video games and chasing celebrities*, older people focus on pursuits that aim to improve and maintain health (tai chi is one of the main ones). ). When it comes to sports, according to the report, the most practised are walking, jogging, cycling and fitness.
It is curious and significant that the main hobby among women between 45 and 65 years of age is “public square dancing (广场舞)”, which consists of performing a dance routine to the rhythm of different types of music, usually in parks or open-air squares. Free, but that can be practised anywhere (parking lots, sidewalks, streets…). Due to its low cost and the ease of practising it, it is estimated that in China, there are more than 100 million people who are fond of it (mostly women, although it is not unusual for men also to practice it, although this usually occurs in the partner dance variant ). It is common to see it being practised in any corner of any part of China, both early in the morning and late at night (and even late at night). There are various ways of practising it, with different choreographies (depending on the type of music) and even other costumes. Most of those who practice it consider it positive physical and mental health benefits.