Yunnan People

Yunnan, a province of great mountains and beautiful rivers, cultivates not only picturesque landscape but also various people. It has the largest number of ethnic groups in China. Generally, Yunnan people are hospital, simple and unconstrained. They are born dancers and dance anytime they like, to celebrate something, welcome guests and show their affections, etc. They like rice noodles and drinking alcohol. Don’t be surprised when they welcome you with a cup of alcohol.

Ethnic Minorities Constitute a Big Part of Yunnan People

Except Han Chinese, there are 25 more ethnic minorities in Yunnan living for generations. They are Achang, Bai, Blang, Bouyei, Dai, De'ang, Dulong, Hani, Hui, Jingpo, Jino, Lahu, Manchu, Miao, Naxi, Nu, Shui, Tibetan, Va, Yao, Yi, Zhuang, Pumi and Lisu. Among them, 15 ethnic minorities are unique to Yunnan, including Jino, Achang, Dulong, Blang, Lahu, Pumi, Hani, Nu, De’ang, Bai, Lisu, Va, Jingpo, Naxi and Dai. Among all the ethnic minorities, Yi is the largest one, with over 5 million people. The other five largest minorities are Hani, Bai, Dai, Zhuang and Miao whose population all exceeds one million. Dulong is the least populous minority. There are only about 7,000 Dulong people.

Different Ethnic Groups Concentrate in Different Small Areas

All the ethnic groups live together in the vast land of Yunnan. Not one county neither city is inhabited by one single minority. But each ethnic group concentrates in a certain settlement area. They connect with each other in some way but still keep their own traditions and uniqueness. For instance, Naxi people mostly live in Lijiang, Bai ethnic minorities mainly in Dali, Honghe has most Hani and Yi people, Shangri-la has most Tibetan, Dai people gathers in Xishuangbannan

Appearance of Yunnan People: Short and Thin

Just like people in southern China, most of the Yunnan people are relatively short and thin. Their faces are small, with obvious cheekbones and pure eyes. They look skinny but have tight muscle due to years of hard work, eating habits and natural environment.

Characteristics: Hospitable, Simple and Unconstrained

Historically, most of nationalities in Yunnan migrated from different places. For example, Han Chinese are the descendants of soldiers stationed on the southern frontier, exiled nobles with their families, travelling merchants or farmers from surrounding area who want to make a fortune on the hopeful land. Since they all are immigrants, they are very open-minded and hospitable. If you are a guest from far away, you will be warmly welcomed by the host with a lot of dancing and alcohol. When you leave, they will also dance and sing to see you off.
Many Yunnan people live in the mountainous area, which helps shape their brave, simple, and unconstrained characteristics, which also reflects in the clothes they are dressing. They like to wear red, yellow, purple, blue, dark blue, black and white clothes with simple designs. Yi people usually wear black or red cape, black dresses and black wimple, making them look more straightforward and handsome. “Longji”, a kind of men’s dress of Dai nationality, simple but beautiful and very convenient to wear, is actually a piece of cloth tied only by a special knot when put on. Bai people regard white as the noble color, so they usually dress in white.

Talented Dancer and Singer

People in Yunnan are very good at singing and dancing. People who can talk can sing. Where there is crowd, there is dance. They sing and dance to celebrate traditional festivals, to arouse enthusiasm while farming, to show their joy of the harvest and affection to their loved ones and even daily communication to praise life. Basically, each ethnic group has their own featured songs and dances, such as peacock dancing of Dai nationality, left foot dancing of Yi and Dongba dancing of Naxi etc. Singing and dancing penetrated into every aspect of Yunnan people’s life and already become indispensable resource of their optimistic spirit.

Addicted to Rice Noodles

Rice noodles is very popular food in Yunnan that people there can eat them as breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between as snacks. They have rice noodle festival and rice noodle restaurants are ubiquitous in Yunnan. They eat them in various ways, as a cold snack in summer, in a spicy hot soup, marinated or stir-fried. And they have different flavors with different toppings like marinated chicken, spicy chicken, minced pork soy sauce, stewed beef, tomato sauce, marinated fish, etc.

 Read more: 10 Special Yunnan Foods 

Drinking to Make Friends

Yunnan people originally drink alcohol to warm their body while resisting cold and rainy weather. Gradually, drinking has become a kind of way to strengthen friendship and daily commutation. Men, women, old and young in Yunnan all are good drinkers. They’ve created a lot of interesting ways and tools to enjoy drinking. When you are invited to a local’s family, the family members may sing and dance to make a toast to you. The best way to break the ice and make a close connection to them is taking the glass and drinking up.

Hometown Lovers

Yunnan people extremely don’t like to stay away from their hometowns. The weather there is nice with gorgeous scenery like blue sky and white clouds, beautiful mountains and rivers. The food is good. The pace of life is slow and people have various ways to entertain themselves. As a popular tourist province, people there could learn about the world without leaving home.
- Last updated on Apr. 16, 2020 -
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