Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao ethnic minority is one of the few minority groups that have an extensive population existing in and out of Mainland China. Miao people have their own language, divided into western Hunan, eastern Guizhou and Sichuan Guizhou Yunnan three major dialects. Due to the long-term contacts between the Miao and the Han, some of miao people can speak Chinese and use Chinese characters. The religious beliefs of Miao people are mainly nature worship and ancestor worship.

History of Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao ethnic minority can be traced back to five or six thousand years ago, the legend era of Yan and Huang. At that time, in the lower reach of the Yellow River and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river, there appeared the Jiuli tribe alliance led by Chiyou, while on the loess plateau of Gansu and Shannxi, there formed another two tribal groups led by Shen Nung of Yan emperor and Xuanyuan of Yellow emperor. According to historical documents and records of the Miao people, the ancestors of the Miao people first lived in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, and their ancestor was Chiyou. During the “three Miao” period, they moved to the Jianghan plain, and later, due to the war and other reasons, they gradually migrated southwards and westward to the southwest mountain areas and Yunnan-Guizhou plateau. Since the Ming and Qing dynasties, a part of the Miao people migrated to southeast Asian countries and then from these places to Europe and America in modern times.


Scattered worldwide, the Miao diaspora exists on five continents and many countries, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, France, Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States, among others. In China, they inhabit a wide range of land in south-central China, including settlements in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hubei, and Hainan Provinces. In Yunnan, with a population of 1,200,000, Miao ethnic minority is mainly distributed in Wenshan prefecture, Honghe prefecture and Zhaotong city

Religious Belief of Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao people have their own religious beliefs for a long time. After a long period of historical development, the religious beliefs of Miao people in different areas are different. In some Miao areas, due to inconvenient traffic, Miao people believe in primitive religion. There are also a few Miao areas in modern times influenced by foreign missionaries, some Miao people converted to believe Catholicism and Christianity. But generally speaking, the majority of Miao people still believe in the primitive religion formed by the ethnic group for a long time, which includes nature worship, totem worship, ghost worship and ancestor worship. 

Main natural worship objects of Miao ethnic minority include the heaven, the earth, the sun, the moon, the huge stone, the big tree, the bamboo, the mountain rock, the bridge and so on. The Miao ancestors have their own totems to worship. As the miao people have many branches and wide distribution, they worship a variety of totem, such as phoenix, maple, butterfly, dragon, bird, eagle, bamboo and so on.

Wunuo Culture(巫傩文化)

The miao people believe in ghosts for a long history and is still very common after the founding of new China. They divide ghosts into good and evil, and believe that the good god can bless people, so they should offer sacrifices frequently, while the evil spirit will bring disasters, so they should pray for peace and drive out. It is believed that to achieve this goal, witchcraft must be practiced through wizards. The wizard is the medium that communicates person and ghosts and gods, has higher artistic appreciation, gets the respect of Miao people. The practice of witchcraft by a wizard includes divination, removing evils, Evocation and the like. 

Miao Embroidery 

Embroidery is the long-established handicraft art of Miao minority, the main decoration means of Miao costumes, and the representative of Miao female culture. Although Miao embroidery theme selection is rich, but relatively fixed, mainly including dragon, bird, fish, drum, flowers, butterfly, and the scenes that reflect the Miao history. There are many kinds of Miao embroidery. They can be divided roughly monochromatic embroider and chromatic embroider. Monochrome embroidery is mainly based on blue thread, and the embroidery technique is relatively single. The colorful embroidery is embroidered with 7-color silk threads, and embroider gimmick is more complex. The finished embroidery is colorful. 

Cultural Heritages of Miao Ethnic Minority

The Miao people are good at singing and dancing. Miao people’s “flying song” is loud and clear, very infectious. The dances include Lusheng Dance, Bench Dance and Bronze Drum Dance, among which Lusheng dance is the most popular. Lusheng dance is performed on the 15th day of the first lunar month, the third day of the third lunar month, the double ninth festival and other festivals.


Autonomous Areas

Miao Ethnic Towns

Festivals and Activities of Miao Ethnic Minority

Miao Villages