THE ZHUANG PEOPLE // A LOOK AT AN ETHNIC MINORITY IN CHINA

TOURISM & ETHNICITY IN CHINA

THE ZHUANG PEOPLE

zhuang_people_of_longzhou_guangxi

A LOOK AT AN ETHNIC MINORITY IN CHINA

The Zhuang People

Introduction

The Zhuang people of China are among the largest minority group in the country. With their population of approximately 16,178,811 people, the Zhuang people have been able to maintain their culture which can be regarded as a long and glorious culture. Today, more than 90 percent of the Zhuang people live in a location known as Guangxi Zhuang. The remaining population is found in other various places such as Guangdong, Yunnan, Hunan Provinces and Guizhou. In Guo, their language is one of its own. It belongs to a branch of Zhuang-Dong known as Zhuang-Dai. In general, their language has two dialects that have slight differences. As of 1955, their language has been converted into a Latin-based alphabet system which is different from the Chinese characters which were used before. This is an initiative undertaken by the Chinese government.

Food, Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality

According to Chappell, the Zhuang people can in a way be termed as farmers. Their primary diet is based on subtropical and tropical crops like corn and rice which do well in their geographical location. These people also eat various types of meat which range from chicken, pork, beef, mutton, and so on. Regarding vegetables, they feed on various types but pickled and poached vegetables are their favored ones. In regards to hospitality, visitors in their village are honored and celebrated by every member. When treating their guests, wine is their favorite beverage. During drinking, a guest is shown a special way in which to drink one another’s wine. It is done by crossing arms as you drink. In their culture, respect for the elders is shown by only eating after they begin.

Clothes and Crafts

In regards to clothing, the Zhuang people have different ways which differ according to different areas. In general, the men’s dressing has little difference in the entire group. However, the women’s dressing differ. For instance, women living in southwest Guangxi like to dress in collarless jackets which have square headbands. Those from the Northwest Guangxi dress in collarless embroidered belts and pleated skirts which include wide trousers. Regarding crafting, the Zhuang women are talented in embroidering and weaving. These women also have strong dying skills which are usually done using wax. Some of the products they produce include aprons, carpets, waistbands, bed covers curtains and tablecloth. These products are exported to almost every part of the world, thus acting as one of the primary economic activities of the population.

Ceremonies and Festivals

Various ceremonies and festivals are held from time to time. For instance, The Devil Festival is one of the festivals held every year on July 14th. On the day before the festival, each family conducts special preparations which include thorough house cleaning and proper outfits to be used during the sacrifice. During The Devil Festival, candies, wines, fruits, pork and duck are offered as a way to show respect to their ancestors.

Conclusion

The Zhuang people have a great culture which has been there for centuries. One of the main threats to the sustainability of their culture is tourism which is introducing outside cultures to the Zhuang community. As a way to preserve the Zhuang culture, the Chinese government has intervened through various ways like the translation of their writing style into a Latin-based format which has been adapted and used in different parts of China.

Bibliography

Chappell, Hilary. Diversity in Sinitic Languages. , 2015. Print.

Han, Xiaorong. Red God: Wei Bacon and His Peasant Revolution in Southern China, 1894-1932. , 2014. Internet resource

Cable, Monica. Women and Gender in Contemporary Chinese Societies: Beyond Han Patriarchy. Lexington Books, 2013. Internet resource.

Guo, Rongxing. China’s Multicultural Economies: Social and Economic Indicators. New York: Springer, 2013. Internet resource

Minahan, James. Ethnic Groups

One thought on “THE ZHUANG PEOPLE // A LOOK AT AN ETHNIC MINORITY IN CHINA

  1. Emma Reed

    I thought it was interesting how you mentioned that the Chinese government switched their language to using a latin-based letter system. I feel like this had to be very difficult for many of these people to learn. We discussed how important language is to a culture and how it’s understanding can change from region to region, or culture to culture. I would imagine that even learning new letters for their language would be hard, especially if they had pre-existing notions about similar languages due to their experiences.

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