Today we’re happy to write about the different chinese ethnic groups! As there are so many, we couldn’t fit them all in one post so we encourage you to do some of your own research if your interested and if you have any questions – post a comment below!
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There is a total of 56 ethnic groups spread throughout China. By far the largest of these groups is Han Chinese – accounting for around 92% of the Chinese population with the other 55 groups making up the remaining 8%. In fact, Han Chinese account for 20% of our entire world population!
Han people can be found all over China. However, they are mostly concentrated towards the Eastern half of China, below and around the yellow river. The Han people heavily influenced China during the Han dynasty – a period known as the ‘Golden Age’ of China where arts and science flourished and religious beliefs including Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism spread. Mandarin Chinese also originated from the original language of the Han people.
The Han people can be credited with many discoveries such as fireworks, rockets, gunpowder, the crossbow, cannons, and matches. Paper, printing, paper money, porcelain, silk, the compass, and earthquake detectors. The Han people contributed greatly to the building of the Great Wall and the terracotta warriors can also be credited the Han.
While these different Chinese ethnic groups live together with one another, their culture, traditions and beliefs can be very different. For example, the Hui ethnic group, found mostly in North Western China, belong to the Muslim faith as they are descendants from the Turks. In fact, the Hui ethnic group are the third largest in China. The origin of the Hui people is thought to be from the marriage of Muslim traders and Han locals during the Silk road period in China.
There is also the Manchu ethnic group, which is the tenth largest ethnic group in China. The Manchu people were historically shamanist in their beliefs. The great Manchu Shamans would offer sacrifices and perform trance ceremonies to cure sickness and drive away evil. However, during the Qing Dynasty, Chinese beliefs has a big impact on the Manchus and this lead to many of them adopting Buddhism as their primary belief system, which still holds today. The Manchu people reside in North Eastern China.
The Zhuang ethnic group is the second largest in China, with a population of over 16 million. The Zhuang people mainly reside in Guangxi, an autonomous region for the Zhuang people located in South Eastern China, bordering Vietnam. The Zhuang people mostly speak Mandarin but they also have their own language, which uses a script based on the Latin Alphabet.
There are many many more ethnic groups in China with equally fascinating histories, cultures and beliefs. If you’re interested, I encourage you to do some of your own research on these groups! To understand the culture and history even more deeply, it would also help to learn Chinese!
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