China is an ancient civilization located in a cultural region and, depending on perspective, a national or multinational entity extending over a large area in East Asia.
Historically, China's cultural sphere has extended across East Asia as a whole, with Chinese religion, customs, and writing systems being adopted to varying degrees by neighbours such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The first evidence of human presence in the region was found at the Zhoukoudian cave. It is one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus, now commonly known as the Peking Man, estimated to have lived from 300,000 to 780,000 years ago.
Traditional holidays are generally celebrated in Chinese speaking regions. For the most part, however, only Chinese New Year, Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival are statutory public holidays. This is the case in both mainland China and Taiwan, whilst Hong Kong and Macau also observe Buddha's Birthday and Chung Yeung Festival. In Singapore, Chinese New Year is the only traditional Chinese public holiday.
Each region has its own holidays on top of this condensed traditional Chinese set. Mainland China and Taiwan observe patriotic holidays, Hong Kong and Macau observe Christian holidays, and Singapore celebrates Malay and Indian festivals.
Most Canadians have never tasted authentic Chinese foods since the cuisine served in most Chinese restaurants has been heavily adapted to North American tastes.
In most dishes in Chinese cuisine, food is prepared in bite-sized pieces, ready for direct picking up and eating. In traditional Chinese cultures, chopsticks are used at the table. Traditional Chinese cuisine is also based on opposites, whereby hot balances cold, pickled balances fresh and spicy balances mild.
In the past most Chinese would have eaten meat rarely and most meals would have consisted of rice accompanied with green vegetables, with protein coming from foods like peanuts and soy products. Fats and sugar were luxuries not eaten on a regular basis by most of the population. However, with increasing wealth, Chinese diets have become richer over time, consuming more meats, fats, and sugar.
Many historians believe that association football originated in China, where a form of the sport may have appeared around 1000 AD. Other popular sports include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, and more recently, golf. Basketball is now popular among young people in urban centers.
There are also many traditional sports. Chinese dragon boat racing occurs during the Duan Wu festival. In Inner Mongolia, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are popular. In Tibet, archery and equestrian sports are part of traditional festivals.
Physical fitness is highly regarded. It is common for the elderly to practice Tai Chi Chuan and qigong in parks. Board games such as International Chess, Go (Weiqi), and Xiangqi (Chinese chess) are also common and have organized formal competitions. The capital city of the People's Republic of China, Beijing, hosted the 2008 Olympic Games, a major international sporting event.