Shanghai-style Culture

Shanghai-style Culture is also called Hai Pai Culture by Chinese people. It reference to the culture of Shanghai, including the food, clothing, buildings, custom, and language. A city is alive when it is full of culture and Shanghai (mainly referring to Hai Pai) culture is at the root of Shanghai's energy and charm. The unique culture of Shanghai is the result of being affected by a lot of different cultures, including cultures of different areas of China, cultures of other Asian countries, and western cultures.

Hai Pai culture means "The Ocean absorbs the flows of hundreds of rivers", because it characterizes the culture of Shanghai so well. Shanghai is open to diversity from foreign cultures to traditional Chinese cultures, and from elite cultures to folk cultures


Development of Shanghai-style Culture
The rise of modern Shanghai in just one hundred years is a miracle in the history of Chinese development. It is the first place to get to from the sea, and from Shanghai can easily go along the Yangtze River to go deeper into China.

Before 1843, Shanghai culture mainly came from the ancient kingdoms of Wu and Yue, from Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. After 1843, when western civilization came to China through Shanghai for the first time, Shanghai developed rapidly into the national commercial and economic centre. For about 100 years between 1840 and 1949, numerous foreigners from Europe, America, Japan, India had lived in Shanghai. They affected and changed the culture of Shanghai in a lot of ways. The buildings on the Bund is quite an evidence how much the changes were. Thus hai pai culture, the combination of Chinese and Western cultures, gradually formed.

The term Hai Pai (literally 'Shanghai style') was coined by a group of Beijing writers in 1920 to criticize some Shanghai scholars and styles of writing for their admiration of money and western cultures. Hai pai is rebellious while its opposite jing pai, or 'Beijing style', is traditional. They represent two kinds of different Chinese cultures. The famous author Cao Juren wrote in the article Jing Pai and Hai Pai in the 1920s that, "jing pai is like a fair lady, while hai pai is like a modern babe."

A group of scholars in the Shanghai art and literary circles spontaneously organized 'yuanyang hudie pai', the Mandarin Duck and Butterfly genre of popular romance in the early 1900s. This style of writer, such as Zhang Henshui and Qin Shou'ou, entertained the audience with amusing and light literature.

So this is the unique ocean style culture of Shanghai, the result of merging and evolving of a lot of diverse cultures.

Features of Shanghai-style Culture
Shanghai culture is rooted in traditional Chinese culture, based on the fusion of the essence of Wu and Yue culture and culture in other regions of China, and also absorbs to a lot of foreign culture, mainly western culture. Then it creates new characteristic of its own unique Shanghai culture. Cosmopolitism and compatibility become the core spirits of Shanghai-style culture. The features of Shanghai-style Culture include diversification, the pursuit of excellence and innovation. The basic characteristics of Shanghai culture is open, creative, discarded and diversities. People from most countries in the world should be able to find something common and familiar to where they are from, but none of them would think Shanghai is very much silimar to another place.
builings in shanghai
Shanghai is developing its own style of customs, by bringing the new elements into the culture. Shanghai is not only preserving and innovating the traditional cultures in celebrations, folk arts and crafts, customs, antique collections, and martial arts sports, but also absorbing and developing cultures from foreign countries in entertainments, etiquettes, sports, foods, and costumes.

►Related information: Chinese Culture
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