In traditional Chinese society, great emphasis is placed on the incorporation of philosophical principles in everyday life. One of the greatest Chinese philosophers was Confucius. Since Confusius advocated respect for family and parents, filial piety has become a central feature of Chinese culture. Children are expected to put the interests of the family above their own aspirations. This, various aspects of Chinese culture are preserved in the home, particularly in households which contain older, extended-family members or first-generation immigrants.
Chinese American families often celebrate traditional Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year and the moon festival. Custom dictates the celebration of such holidays with firecrackers, although in some communities the purchase of such fireworks is illegal. Another Chinese New Year custom is to send money to each relative in China, even to those whom the sender has never met. During holidays, and at other times, traditional Chinese dances are performed, which also helps preserve culture (Liu 64). Holidays are one of the most important forms of maintaining the cultural perspective of any community, and the Chinese American is no exception.
Many elderly Chinese have a strong belief in Chinese medicine. In these homes, Chinese herbs are kept and used as a first defense against illness. Elderly Chinese also have a preference for acupunture over traditional Western medical methods.
The design and decoration of the Chinese home itself preserves culture. Paintings and sculpture displaying Chinese characters are often displayed. These characters convey messages related to good luck, longevity, wealth, happiness, and congratulations. Colors likewise symbolize good will: "the colors green, red, and yellow are used generously because among the Chinese green stands for growth, red for good luck, and yellow for long life" (Liu64). The shape of the roof line, the positioning of the threshold, and even the direction the house faces is significant because of the Chinese belief that good and bad spirits possess the ability to influence a household's occupants.