Culture

Major minority groups in Zhangjiajie

Updated: Nov 21, 2019 chinadaily.com.cn Print

In Zhangjiajie, there are more than 700,000 people of ethnic groups, including Tujia, Bai, Miao and Hui, accounting for about 50% of the total population. Tujia is the largest ethnic group in Zhangjiajie, followed by Bai, Miao and Hui. Besides, there are Man, Dong and Yao ethnic groups. Here are brief introductions about some ethnic groups.

Tujia ethnic group

The Tujia ethnic group (Chinese: 土家族Tǔjiāzú) literally means people who were born and have long lived in a place. They were called "ba ren" in ancient times. According to historical records, Tujia ethnic group lived in the areas between Yangtze River and Yuanshui River, distributing in provinces including Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan and Guizhou, and they have never moved to other places.

Tujia, which means indigenous, is the opposite of Kejia (the Hakka), referring to people moving from other places.

In the past, Tujia ethnic group called themselves "Bizi group", and "Tujia" is the name given by Han ethnic group.

Tujia ethnic group is a group of diligent and brave people, who live in the area of Wuling Mountains.

Bai ethnic group

Bai ethnic group also enjoys a long history. They call themselves "Baizi" or "Baini".

Bai ethnic group now mainly lives in Dali, Yunnan province. The Bai people living in Sangzhi and Tianzi Mountain area actually moved from Dali.

According to historical records, in 1253, Mongolia Army took over Dali Kingdom in Yunnan and forced an army of Bai ethnic group to attack Southern Song Dynasty. Three brothers in this army, who hated Mongolia Army and wars, escaped and fled to Jiangxi province and then to Dongting Lake of Hunan. Afterwards, they continued their way along Lishui River and settled down in Sangzhi. Over the time of more than seven hundred years, there were nearly ten thousand Bai people there. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, through decades of investigations on its sources, seven townships of Bai people were established in the autumn of 1985 and they achieved their autonomy.

The customs of Bai ethnic group in Sangzhi are not distinct from those in Dali. Their basic and universal language is Chinese because they have long been closely connected with Han ethnic group.

The Bai ethnic group created their own splendid culture in their long process of development.

Chongsheng Temple in Dali, grottoes in Shibao mountain and the ancient architecture complex have their distinctive artistic features. The love epic "Wangfuyun" and the folktale "Tower of Snake Bones" are well known at home and abroad. In addition, the annual traditional festival "the third month fair" in Dali is also a great occasion for commercial activities, attracting many domestic and international visitors.

Miao ethnic group

Miao ethnic groupis one of the old ethnic groups with a large population and a wide distribution in China. Ancestors of Miao ethnic group lived in the southern part of the Yellow River and northern part of the Yangtze River. Afterwards they moved to Dongting Lake and then to Xiangxi (western Hunan province) and eastern Guizhou province, and finally settled down there.

Hui ethnic group

Hui is an abbreviation for the Huihui nationality. Its ancestors were people who migrated to eastern China after three invasions by Mongols in the 13th century, along with Muslim immigrants residing in the coastal areas of southeast China during the Tang (618–907 AD) and Song (960–1276 AD) dynasties.  In addition, due to the intermarriage and the acceptance of religions and customs, Hui also absorbed some Han elements.

There are many outstanding figures of Hui ethnic group in the fields of politics, economy and culture in history. They have made great contributions to people's living, production and construction.

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