With a population of 33,936 (in 2000), the Achang ethnic minority lives mainly in the Dehong Dai - Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province. They lived in the reaches of Nu River as long ago as the 2nd century, and then migrated southwest to the present Longchuan and Lianghe Counties.
As one of the earliest people, the Achang has their own language, which has no written form. Over time they have accepted the language of the Dai ethnic minority, as well as the written and spoken Mandarin of the Han people.
The Achang people, though kind, mild and warmhearted, are good at forging iron weapons, especially cutting tools.
Young men who are unmarried wear their hair short with a black or white coif cap. Married men traditionally wear a navy blue one. Women wear distinctive clothing and headwear with flower patterns. Girls have long, braided hair until they marry. Afterwards, they will wear a chignon 0.5 meter high: the highest chignon among women of Chinese ethnic minorities.
The Achang people are proud of their quality rice and can make many kinds of delicious food from it. Along with rice, they also enjoy fried fish, using fish that live in the waters of the paddy fields. They also drink yellow wine and spirits, which taste quite mellow.
In common with the Dai ethnic minority, the Water-splashing Festival is the best opportunity for young people to choose a mate for life. Every 24th day of the sixth lunar month is the Torch Festival. On that day people enjoy rice noodles with pork and travel throughout their neighborhoods at night holding bright torches. The Woluo Festival is the most representative and significant festival: Each April 4th the festival is held to pay homage to the ancestors of Achang, Zhepama and Zhemima who made great contributions to the development of the nationality.
In the past, most of the Achang people believed in Hinayana Buddhism, and they still hold different religious festivals and activities to show their piety. Southern Buddhism is another popular religion. Nearly in every village, a Buddhist temple stands with various architectural styles. Taoism has also had a great influence since the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), which is reflected by the Imperial Pavilion Taoist Temple, the representative of the Taoist holy land established by Achang people in Dehong of Yunnan.
1. Domestic and other animals are forbidden to be killed or harmed on January 1st;
2. Males of other families are forbidden to visit within seven days after a female has given birth;
3. Standing and sitting on the threshold or cutting the threshold with a sword is forbidden, because they think it stands for the prosperity of the family and the abundant generations of the family;
4. Photos or hair burning is forbidden, because they think if it is burnt, the person will be seriously ill or mad;
5. A male and a female with the same family name are forbidden to get married.
More Ethnic Groups in Yunnan Area:
Yi Bai Hani Dai Zhuang Lahu Wa Naxi Blang Primi