Guangxi Ethnic Group

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has a population of 48.38 million according to demographic statistics in 2016, and more than dozens of ethnic minorities. In Guangxi, Han is the biggest ethnic people , and other ethnic minorities also inhabit here, like Zhuang, Yao, Miao, Dong, Molao, Maonan, Hui, Jing, Li, Shui, Gelao. The Zhuang are the biggest ethnic minority in Guangxi, and also the indigenous people who live in Guangxi for almost two thousand years according to historical records. The Zhuang people are called Xi’ ou people in the historical records of Qin Dynasty,. After a long time of development, the Zhuang have its own language, classical books, festivals, arts, music and so on.

The Zhuang have its own oral language and written language. The oral language is often used in the Zhuang people’s daily conversation, while the written language is rarely used by the Zhuang people who don’t learn it and can’t read it. And it is only learned by the professional people, or kept in museums. But the written language is valued by government, and you may see it printed on the paper money, “Cunghgoz Yinminz Yinzhangz lt maenz” referring to People’s Bank of China. The Zhuang has a masterpiece, Buluotuo which is an epic making records about the Zhuang’s ancestor-Buluotuo. The epic is written by the written language of this ethnic group, and consists of many poems, which has great literature value. It extols Buluotuo’s achievements and records the primitive society of the Zhuang from eight aspects,  the creature of the world, human beings, other beings, emperor of the earth, and written language, ethic and moral,  and praying. All of this share a theme: nature worship and ancestor worship.

The Zhuang people do not have an united religion belief, but have beliefs in many gods, like Heaven god, thunder god, gnome, and huapo god. The Gnome god is also called Tudigong, who is the controller of earth, flood, drought, and plagues of insects, animals and human beings. People would make buildings to worship this god. Huapo god is a female god and a controller of birth, and it is also called Flower King. The Zhuang believe that sons and daughters are flowers in the Huapo god’s yard, and their lives are in the hands of Huapo god.

The Zhuang have many festivals and celebrations, and some are the same with the Han’s, and some are celebrated by the Zhuang only, like “Sanyuesan” festival, Huapo festival and Niuhun festival. Sanyuesan festival occurs on the third day of the third lunar month. In this day, people would prepare colorful eggs and sticky rice of five colors- red, yellow, black, purple and white; there would be a singing party and other activities. Huapo festival is a festival for the god, Huapo, and it is celebrated in the birth day of Huapo, the twenty ninth day of the second lunar month. Huapo is a controller of birth, Huapo would give white flowers to mothers who give birth to male babies and give red flowers to mothers who give birth to female babies.  In the festival day, females would make sacrifice rituals and pick flowers to make garlands, praying for fertility and children’s health. Niuhun festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month in Guangxi. It is a festival for cattle which is used to plough agricultural land. On that day, people and cattle would have a rest from hard farming work, and beating cattle is a no-no.  Cattle would be given a shower and lots of food, and its living place would be cleaned.

The main instruments of the Zhuang are copper drum, Maguhu, huluhu, qinghu, tianqin, and so on. All of them are national instruments, and are featured with, naturalness and fluency. The Zhuang have made and used copper drum for more than two thousand years. Copper drum is a round percussion instrument. The drum head has many decorations, with the Sun motif in the center and halos in the outside. The out ring close to the edge has animal ornaments, and frog is the most common one. Copper drum is not only an instrument, but also a symbol of power and wealth. Maguhu is a string instrument, also call Randu in the Zhuang language, and the sound of it is clear and pleasant. It is made from the bone of animals, like horse, cattle and mule, and often used in the west of Guangxi. Tianqin is a chordophone (plucked) of a mellow sound, and it is often played in a solo or played for songs and dances, and popular in the south order of Guangxi. The Zhuang people are wild about singing, and there are regular singing parties. These singings are usually produced in people’s daily life, and have rich materials from marrying, farming to politics and forms of guessing and questioning. For the sake of singing, there is an official festival called Nanning international folk song arts festival.

The long history of development gives the Zhuang opportunities to create great material conditions and a rich culture for happy life , like language, literature works, religion, music, music instrument, and clothing.

Guangxi has other ethnic groups, like Yao, Miao, Dong, Mulao, Maonan, Hui, Jing, Li, Shui, and Gelao. The Yao are the second biggest ethnic minority in Guangxi and one of the oldest ethnic groups, who live in the south of China, like Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Jiangxi provinces. Among these five provinces, Guangxi has the biggest number of the Yao people. According to the census in 2010, there is 2.79 million Yao people. The Miao mainly live in the north and northwest of Guangxi, like Longlin, Nandan and Rongshui. Rongshui Yao autonomous county is the biggest living place of the Miao. The Dong are the indigenous ethnic group in Guangxi, and they mainly live in four autonomous counties, Sanjiang, Rongshui, Longsheng and Luocheng. The Mulao are the indigenous ethnic group in Guangxi, and they mainly live in Luocheng Mulao autonomous county, and its surrounding counties. The Maonan the indigenous ethnic group in Guangxi, and they mainly live in Huanjiang , Nandan, and Du’an  of  Hechi, the northwest of Guangxi. the Hui mainly live in Guilin, Liuzhou and Nanning. The Jing mainly in the Dongxing of Fangchengguang which borders on Vietnam, and their ancestors moved to China from Vietnam since the 16th century. The Jing are the major ethnic group in Vietnam. The Shui mainly live places in the northwest of Guangxi, like Hechi, Nandan, Huanjiang and Rongshui, which are close to Guizhou province. The Li are a small ethnic group in Guangxi, and they mainly live places in the northwest of Guangxi, which are close to Guizhou and Yunan province.  The Gelao are the smallest ethnic group among the twelve ethnic groups, and they moved to Guangxi from Guizhou province in the Ming and Qin Dynasty.

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