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Top 10 Types of Local Culture in Sichuan

sichuan operaSichuan Opera

The local culture makes a place distinct from other places.

In ancient times, there was no convenient transportation and advanced technology, and people lived in certain areas for a long time. Over time, a lot of unique cultures have been formed.

Experiencing the local culture enriches a trip and makes it unforgettable. Read on to learn about the top 10 unique types of culture in Sichuan.

1. Panda Culture


When it comes to Sichuan, people usually think of pandas. There is no doubt that the panda culture is representative of Sichuan culture.

Sichuan has 16 giant panda nature reserves where farming fields have been left to grow back as forests, and trees and bamboo have grown well.

In 1987, Chengdu Panda Base was established, focusing on giant panda research and breeding. Now you can see adorable pandas in the four best panda centers.

You can feed the cubs with milk and bamboo shoots, observe the panda cubs in the staff-only control room, and help to clean the cubs’ bedroom.

2. Hot Pot Culture

hot pot

Hot pots can be found in many parts of China but Sichuan’s spicy hot pot is the most popular. All kinds of ingredients are boiled in the spicy hot pot.

Taste a mouthful — the spicy, hot, and fresh flavors integrated with Sichuan peppercorns, chili, and fresh ingredients will overflow in your mouth, giving you unparalleled appetite stimulation, especially in the winter.

The forthright character of Sichuan people is probably related to their spicy food culture. Some people say you cannot state that you have been to Sichuan if you haven’t tried a hot pot.

Surviving a hot pot in a local restaurant is a good experience to understand the Sichuan culture. It doesn’t matter if you cannot eat spicy food — there is also a clear soup hot pot. The important thing is that you can experience the authentic atmosphere.

3. Mahjong Culture


Sichuan people love playing mahjong! They love mahjong just as German people love beer and English people love football.

Playing mahjong is their biggest form of entertainment. For Sichuan people, the most enjoyable thing in life is playing mahjong in the afternoon beside the river, undisturbed by the world.

On every block and around every corner in Chengdu, you'll be able to find inexpensive teahouses to pass the days and nights playing mahjong.

Four players begin with 34 unknown tiles. They take new tiles and discard useless tiles one by one in turn. The player who organizes the right arrangement first wins the game.

4. Tea Culture


People in Sichuan, especially in Chengdu, put the idea of a slow lifestyle into practice incisively and vividly. They not only like playing mahjong but also like drinking tea.

They can drink cups of tea from early morning until dusk to pass the time. Going to a park or a teahouse, making a cup of tea, taking a nap, and reading a book or newspaper is how they spend their leisurely way of life.

Sichuan people drink covered-bowl tea, consisting of a lid, bowl, and saucer. Before drinking the tea, they use the edge of the lid to skim the surface of the liquid to move the tea leaves away. The tea will taste light if skimmed gently and mellow if skimmed firmly.

5. Sichuan Opera

sichuan opera

Face-changing is the representative performance in Sichuan opera and is also what distinguishes Sichuan opera from other types of opera.

Multiple (layered) masks worn by the actors can be changed at lightning speed. Many teahouses in and around Chengdu stage shorter opera performances.

If you want to appreciate wonderful traditional Sichuan opera costumes, music, mask changing, fire breathing, and lively puppetry shows, you can go to Shufeng Yayun Sichuan Opera House (蜀风雅韵).

6. Sichuanese (Sichuan Dialect)

people's park

It is now estimated that over 100 million people speak Sichuanese natively, which makes it one of the most spoken dialects and languages in the world.

Sichuanese is the common day-to-day language in Chongqing and Sichuan. It is sometimes used in Sichuan opera.

One of the key differences between Mandarin and Sichuanese is the placement of the tongue when speaking. The 4/10 or sì/shí problem is a good example to use.

When you make a “shh” sound (meaning “be quiet”) and when pronouncing the number 10 (shí (十)) in Mandarin, your tongue will move slightly upwards.

7. Culture from the Three Kingdoms Period

wuhou temple

In the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280), China was divided by three regimes: Wei (north of the Yangtze), Shu (in the southwest), and Wu (in the southeast).

The area around the ancient city of Chengdu was part of the Kingdom of Shu. Liu Bei was the Kingdom of Shu's first emperor.

There were many heroes and talented rulers during this chaotic period, as well as many historical stories, as the famous novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms depicts.

Wuhou Temple in Chengdu is a good place to help you understand the history of the Three Kingdoms Period. It was built to commemorate Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei’s think tank.

8. Taoist Culture

mount qingcheng

Sichuan is an important birthplace of Taoism in China.

Taoism developed over thousands of years in Sichuan, and there are traces or legends of Taoist culture all over Sichuan, such as Mount Heming, where Taoism originated, Mount Qingcheng, and Qingyang Palace.

9. Sichuan Embroidery

sichuan embroidery

Sichuan embroidery is a state-level intangible cultural heritage. Along with Suzhou embroidery, Hunan embroidery, and Guangdong embroidery, it is one of the four most famous embroideries in China.

It is typically done on soft, satin fabric and makes use of brightly colored threads. The subjects of embroidered works include flowers, leaves, animals, mountains, rivers, and human figures.

It can be used to embellish items such as quilt covers, pillows, clothing, women's shoes, and a host of other items, such as tapestries, which are good choices for souvenirs.

10. Spirits Culture

shuijingfang museum

Sichuan is where liquor and spirits (baijiu) originated from. Baijiu is made from fermented grains or fermented mash (made from starch or raw sugar materials) through distillation.

Chengdu has the oldest winemaking workshop in the world — Shuijingfang Museum. This winemaking workshop has remained throughout the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.

Its historical value is comparable to that of the Terracotta Army. The famous Sichuan baijiu brands include Wuliangye, Luzhou Old Cellar, and Jiannanchun.

Experience the Colorful Sichuan Culture with Us

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We can help you create a wonderful experience for your Sichuan trip, not just in sight but also in spirit. You can see our popular Sichuan tours below for inspiration. They let you enjoy an in-depth Sichuan experience: