Taiwanese Culture

Family

Taiwanese families are typically large and multigenerational, with each member playing an important function within the household. While the extended family has traditionally lived with the nuclear family, increasing urbanisation and economic independence are steadily reducing the commonality of this household structure.


The concept of face often guides how family members interact with one another. Each family has a collective face that can be impacted by the acts of each individual in the family. Hence, people may be encouraged to serve the interests of the collective in order to maintain and preserve a family’s reputation.


The Taiwanese tend to put great emphasis on maintaining respect and positive relationships amongst the family members. Much of this behaviour relates back to traditional or Confucian concepts. For example, being reciprocal towards one’s obligations to family members observes ‘guanxi’. Confucian roles are not strictly adhered to anymore, and the younger generation is becoming less family orientated. Nevertheless, children are still expected to obey and defer to their parents and honour their elders in almost all situations.


Older members of the family must still be supported and cared for. This is in accordance with filial piety, the Confucian tenet that stresses the importance of age. Due to filial piety, younger people will offer their seats to elders or wait for them before they begin a task such as eating. Respect for the elderly continues after they pass away through practices such as daily ancestral worship and the event known as Tomb Sweeping Day.


Gender and Women

Although the value of equality is embodied in the region’s democratic political system and universal education system, much of society is shaped by patriarchal values. There remains a general expectation for women to care for children, whereas men are expected to generate most of the household income. Women work in every industry, yet are typically employed in lower-paid jobs. Nevertheless, this disparity is changing. There are increasing numbers of females holding political positions as well as starting and running their own businesses.


Dating and Marriage

Traditionally, the most common form of marriage was by arrangement between two families through the use of a matchmaker. Often, a bride and groom would meet for the first time on their wedding day. In contemporary Taiwan, family and parental sanction of marriage still persist and often a matchmaker will be used to mediate the selection of a partner. Whilst the younger generation of Taiwanese have much more autonomy over their marriage arrangements, parents retain the right to counsel the marriage, and advice from parents is rarely ignored.

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Taiwan
  • Population
    23,464,787
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Mandarin Chinese (official)
    Taiwanese
    Hakka Dialects
  • Religions
    Buddhism (35.3%)
    Taoist (33.2%)
    Christian (3.9%)
    Taoist or Confucian folk religion (10%)
    None or Unspecified (18.2%)
    [2005 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Han Chinese [including Hoklo and Hakka] (95%)
    Indigenous (2.0%)
    Note: There are 16 officially recognised indigenous groups - the Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Hla'alua, Kanakaravu, Kavalan, Paiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiyat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami people.
  • Cultural Dimensions
    58
    17
    45
    69
    93
    49
  • Australians with Taiwanese Ancestry
    18,528 [2016 census]
Taiwanese in Australia
  • Population
    46,822
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Taiwan.
  • Average Age
    32
  • Gender
    Male (42.4%)
    Female (57.6%)
  • Religion
    No Religion (38.5%)
    Buddhism (35.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (3.5%)
  • Ancestry
    Chinese (75.9%)
    Taiwanese (23.7%)
    English (1.5%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Mandarin (87.1%)
    English (5.5%)
    Min Nan (3.1%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 75.4% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Queensland (38.1%)
    New South Wales (30.3%)
    Victoria (19.9%)
    Western Australia (6.0%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (52.8%)
    2001-2006 (19.2%)
    2007-2011 (23.0%)
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/237/tw.svg Flag Country Taiwan