Bai Nationality

The main distribution of the Bai people is in the Dali Bai Autonomous County of Yunnan Province, together with Lijiang, Kunming, Yuanjiang, Guizhou and so on. According to the census taken in 2000, there were some 1,858,063 individuals.

Their language  language derives from the Zang-Mian Austronesian family of Sino-Tibetan Phylum but with the character set of the Han people as their written form of language.

A Girl of Bai Ethnic Group
A Girl of Bai Ethnic Group, Dali, Yunnan
Wax Painting of Bai Nationality
Wax Painting of Bai Nationality
 Arts and Crafts: 
The Bai people are masters of artistic creativity including architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and other craft techniques such as lacquer work. The great Three Pagodas in Dali, having stood since the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and resembling the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an are excellent examples of Bai creativity and skill. Contemporarily, their dance and music spread among the Han people after becoming accepted as part of the court entertainment. In the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368–1644) Dynasties, the majority of the skilled lacquer artisans were selected from Yunnan Province.

For the diet, they prefer sharp, cold and spicy flavor, so they prefer cured ham or fish eaten with rice or flour; though some people in the mountains eat corn as a staple food.

The Bai people favor white clothes and decorations. White in Chinese is pronounced 'Bai', so maybe this is where their name derives from. Women in Dali traditionally wear a white coat trimmed with a black or purple collar, blue loose trousers; embroider shoes, silver bracelets and ear rings.

Architecture of Bai Nationality, Xizhou, Dali
Architecture of Bai Nationality, Xizhou, Dali
Three-Course Tea Performance of Bai Minority
Three-Course Tea Performance of Bai Minority
Although the Bai people believe in Buddhism, they also respectively worship their village god ('Benzhu'), Nature god, the Prince of the Nanzhao regime, or even a hero of folklore.

The grandest festival of the Bai people is the March Fair, held annually at the foot of Mt. Cangshan in Dali between the fifteenth and the twentieth day of the third lunar month. Originally it was religious activity to rally and pay homage, but it gradually evolved into a fair including performances of traditional sports and dance, as well as the trade of merchandise from different regions. Another important festival is the Torch Festival, held on the 25th day of the sixth lunar month to wish both health and a good harvest. On that evening, the countryside will be decorated with banners with auspicious words written upon them. Villagers will then light torches in front of their gates, then walk around the fields while holding yet more torches in order to catch pests.

 Recommended Video Clip:  Bai Minority People Dance

 More Ethnic Groups in Yunnan and Guizhou Area:
Yi     Hani     Dai     Zhuang     Miao     Bouyei     Dong     Yao

 Further Reading:
      Yunnan People

- Last updated on Apr. 20, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Bai Nationality
Asked by Kamryn | May. 12, 2014 10:55Reply
What are cultural taboos for the Bai people?
Answers (1)
Answered by Bryan from GREECE | May. 12, 2014 21:44

Here is what I know: The pregnant woman is generally forbidden to enter the room of a new couple; it is said that the pesonality of a newborn baby is the same as the first person who steps into the room after its birth and the host invites the first person to have Poached Egg Rice Dumplings and he or she cannot refuse that.

Thei fireplace is regarded as a holy place. It is forbidden to split into the fireplace nor stride over that! People are usually not allowed to sit on the threshold.
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