Yunnan Ethnic Culture

Yunnan is the province with the largest population of minorities with 25 of them having more than 5000 members, among them 15 are indigenous. Among 25 ethnic minority groups, the biggest population is Yi and the smallest one is Dulong. The ethnic minorities spread around Yunnan with their own communities and live together over vast areas while some live in individual concentrated communities in small areas. Those ethnic minority people are living in valleys, hilly areas or flat lands. Due to different groups, the traditional customs, cultures, languages, construction styles and clothes of them are colorful and distinctive. Let’s see more about Yunnan ethnic culture.

Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

Yunnan is the province with the largest number of ethnic minorities in China. There are 25 ethnic minorities, including Achang, Bai, Bulang, Buyi, Dai, De’ang, Dulong, Hani, Hui, Jingpo, Jinuo, Lahu, Manchu, Miao, Mongolian, Naxi, Nu, Shui, Tibetan, Wa, Yao, Yi, Zhuang, Pumi, Lisu.

  • Among them, 15 ethnic minorities are indigenous, including Bai, Hani, Dai, Lisu, Lahu, WA, Naxi, Jingpo, Bulang, Achang, Pumi, Nu, Jinuo, De’ang and Dulong.
  • The three-dimensional distribution of all ethnic minorities in Yunnan is very obvious: among them, 10 ethnic groups live in flatland of River Valley: Hui, Bai, Naxi, Mongolian, Zhuang, Man, Dai, Buyi and Shui, with a total population of 4.5 million.
  • There are five million people of Yi, Hani, Yao, Lahu, Wa, Jingpo, Bulang and Jinuo living in the low mountain area, and four million of Miao, Lisu, Tibetan, Pumi, Nu and Dulong living in the high cold mountain area.

Distribution of Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

Autonomous Prefectures

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Languages of Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

Yunnan is a Frontier Province of multi-ethnic, multilingual and multilingual. Among the 25 ethnic minorities in the province, except Hui, Shui and Man ethnic minorities using Chinese, other 22 ethnic minorities use 26 kinds of languages and 14 ethnic minorities among them use 22 kinds of characters.

Religions of Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

According to surveys conducted in 2004 and 2007, in those years approximately 32.22% of the province’s population was involved in worship of ancestors and 2.75% declared a Christian identity. Most of the population of the province practices traditional indigenous religions including the Chinese folk religion among the Han Chinese, Bimoismamong the Yi peoples and Benzhuism among the Bai people. The Dai people are one of the few ethnic minorities of China that traditionally follow the Theravada branch of Buddhism. Most of the Hui people of the region are MuslimsChristianity is dominant among the Lisu, the Jingpo and the Derung ethnic groups.

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Food of Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

Yunnan food is a series of cuisine with bright feature of ethnic minorities among the Chinese cuisine, a product combined the food tradition of 25 ethnic minorities with that of Han ethnic group. 

Architectures of Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

The architecture of Yunnan ethnic minorities has the cultural characteristics of diversity, richness, originality and landscape uniqueness, which not only reflects the harmony between the people of all ethnic groups and the natural environment, but also reflects the different social forms and family structures in the history of each ethnic group, as well as the cultural types, cultural differences, aesthetic psychology, religious beliefs of each ethnic group and the integration of foreign cultures. Yunnan Ethnic Minority Architectures is a symbol of the wisdom and creativity of the people of all ethnic groups. It is a precious cultural and historical heritage of Yunnan People.

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Ethnic Handicrafts in Yunnan

Yunnan is a big province of ethnic culture, a kingdom of non-ferrous metals, a kingdom of animals and plants. Different ethnic minority brings up rich and colorful ethnic culture in Yunnan. As one of the most abundant areas of Chinese ethnic folk arts and crafts, Yunnan ethnic handicrafts are rich and various, including earthenware, stone tools, cloth art, metals, etc. For example: batik and tie dye, wood carving crafts, etc.

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Ethnic Music and Dance in Yunnan

Ethnic minorities in Yunnan are not only good at singing, but also good at dancing. Various forms of ethnic music and dance are widely spread among ethnic minorities, especially in various religious ceremonies, folk festivals and assembly entertainment, which is a collective activity participated by everyone. Folk songs and dances of all ethnic groups come into being in the life of all ethnic groups. They have been continuously processed through generations. Compared with Han’s songs and dances, the functions of minority’s songs and dances are stronger, most of them come together with some kind of customs and rituals in life, and they have more extensive mass participation and practicability, which is a huge difference from Han’s songs and dances, which mainly exist in entertainment and appreciation.

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Festivals of Ethnic Minorities in Yunnan

Yunnan ethnic festivals are always fulled with beautiful legends and featured activities to celebrate. In every month, there are festivals held in different areas by different minorities.

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Minority Discovery in Yunnan

 The unique ethnic minorities culture make Yunnan the most colorful and majestic region in China. Yunnan Minority Discovery Tours will take you to tradtional ethnic villages and ethnic towns in Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Honghe, Chuxiong, Dehong and Xishuangbanna, ect. You can visit local family, local ethnic market, cutural sites such as temples and monasteries and inheritor of intangible cultural heritages in Yunnan, or join in local ethnic festivals to get a better understanding of Yunnan ethnic culture and folk customs.