Miao Nationality

 Distribution and Population:
Miao ethnic group has a population of 8,940,116 which is larger than most of minority groups in China. After immigration in a long history, today they live mainly in Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan, Hubei, Hainan Provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Prefecture. They are divided into several branches, such as Black Hmong, White Hmong, and Striped Hmong.

Their language, which belongs to the Miao-Yao group of the Sino-Tibetan phylum, has developed into three dialects: the dialect of western Hunan Province, the one of eastern Guizhou Province and the one of ChuanQianDian (Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan). Due to a long time living with the Han and other people, they can also speak the Chinese, Dong and Zhuang languages. They have been writing their own Miao language based on Latin since 1956.

A Miao Village in Guizhou
A Miao Village in Guizhou
They believe that everything in nature has a spirit, which incombination are mighty enough to control their lives. Every time there are disasters, they will invite a wizard to perform ceremonies designed to drive out the devil ghost. They worship their ancestors so much that memorial ceremonies are very grand. Sacrifices such as wine, meat, and glutinous rice are costly. Some also believe in Catholicism or other Christian religions.

 Food and Food Culture:
The staple food is rice. Other dishes are meat and acidic soups. Pickled vegetables, hot seasonings and home-made wine are common at the table. Glutinous rice becomes a must during festivals and celebrations.

They are very skilled at handicrafts, such as embroidering, weaving, paper-cutting, batik, and jewelry casting. The Miao embroidery and silver jewelry are delicate and beautiful. From hats, collars, and cuffs to skirts and baby carriers, the patterns on their clothes are extremely colorful, complicated but with clean lines. Girls of around seven will learn embroidering from mothers and sisters, and when they become teenagers, they are quite deft.
Long-skirt Miao Minority
Long-skirt Miao Minority
Long-horn Miao Minority
Long-horn Miao Minority
Gaoshan Miao Minority
Gaoshan Miao Minority
Clothes are diverse across regions. Men wear short coats and trousers, while women decorate themselves with very dainty and dazzling skirts and jewels. On their skirts, there are many patterns taking themes from life such as flowers, birds, etc. One of the most attractive, pleated skirts has as many as forty layers!

New Rice Tasting Festival of Miao Nationality
New Rice Tasting Festival
Divided by regions, they celebrate their festivals at different times, but they all have many, like the Dragon Boat Festival, the Huashan Festival, the Pure Brightness and the New Rice Tasting Festival (Chixin Jie). Among these, the Miao Spring Festival is the most important one that is held during the lunar ninth to the eleventh month.

The New Rice Tasting Festival is worth mentioning. To express their gratitude for the harvest, they will stream the newly ripe rice, brew wine with new rice, cook dishes with newly-picked vegetables and freshly caught fish.

The Lusheng dance is a unique musical performance of the Miao ethnic minority during nearly every celebration. While playing the lusheng, a kind of wind instrument, they dance in demanding patterns, and sing to each other.

 Recommended Video Clips:
Miao Minority Dance
Bagpipe Dance
Miao Festival Dance
Video of Miao People

 More Ethnic Groups in Guizhou, Yunnan and Hunan Area:
Yi     Bai     Hani     Bouyei     Dai     Zhuang     Dong     Tujia     Yao
- Last updated on Nov. 03, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Miao Nationality
Asked by Antonia Jim from UNITED STATES | Dec. 08, 2016 00:52Reply
What ethnic group resides in the area around Sanqingshan and Yushan?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mary from MEXICO | Dec. 08, 2016 21:41

The major minority group in Sanqingshan and Yushan is She Nationality.
Asked by Brenda from USA | May. 15, 2015 19:40Reply
What festivals are celebrated during July 2015? Is it possible to learn some of the Miao dances?
Answers (2)
Answered by Lee from MALAYSIA | May. 16, 2015 02:42

Brenda, Miao people are scattered in differen places in China. Those who live in different parts have their own festivals. In some areas of Qiandongnan, some Miao people hold the Lusheng Festival to worship their ancestors and celebrate their harvest. Perhaps, you should go there at that moment.

If you just want to learn Miao Dance, you can visit Kaili. You will be amazed by Miao people's hospitality. Of course, you can ask locals to teach you some dances.
Answered by Brenda from USA | May. 18, 2015 15:38

Xie-xie! I hope I will be able to travel to that region in July!
Asked by Susan Tao from CHINA | Dec. 22, 2014 08:05Reply
May I get some information about miao silver? such as the kinds of it and its history
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita from KENYA | Dec. 23, 2014 02:30

In ancient times, silver was used as the currency. Miao people preferred to decorate themselves wth "money (silver)". The more silver ornaments they have, the wealthier they are. Rich people prefer to wear bigger and heavier silver ornaments to show how rich they are.
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