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Ethnic People


Hainan Province is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, with several minority ethnicities residing there. These ethnic groups contribute to the cultural richness and diversity of the region. Here are some of the prominent minority ethnicities in Hainan: 

1. Li: The Li people are original residents on the island. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Hainan. They have a distinct culture and are known for their traditional customs, music, and dances. The Li ethnic group has a long history in Hainan and maintains their ancestral traditions and beliefs. More  than 1.4 millions Li people live in Hainan. They have their own languange, customs, and traditional dress. 


Traditionally, the Li people have relied on agriculture, fishing, and weaving for their livelihoods. They have developed unique farming techniques such as the cultivation of paddy fields on mountain slopes and the use of water buffalo for plowing. Fishing has also been an integral part of their culture due to the island's coastal location. The Li people have a strong sense of community and maintain a close-knit social structure. They have a rich folklore and have preserved their traditional music, dance, and costumes. The women are skilled weavers and are known for creating intricate and colorful textiles.


In recent years, efforts have been made to promote and preserve Li culture. Cultural festivals and events showcase Li traditions, and there are ongoing initiatives to revitalize the Li language. The Li ethnic group contributes to the cultural diversity of Hainan and plays an important role in the island's cultural heritage.


The Long Table Banquet, also called "Changzhuo Yan" in the Li language, is a traditional dining experience associated with the Li ethnic group in Hainan. the Long Table Banquet represents the essence of the Li ethnic group's communal spirit, culinary traditions, and cultural pride. It is a memorable dining experience that embodies the values of unity, sharing, and celebration. 

The Long Table Banquet is characterized by a long dining table that can stretch for hundreds of meters, accommodating a large number of guests. The table is usually set up in an open outdoor space, embracing the natural surroundings of Hainan. The banquet is often held during festive occasions, weddings, or other major celebrations, reflecting the Li people's sense of community and hospitality.During the banquet, a wide array of dishes is served, featuring local specialties and traditional Li cuisine. The dishes prominently feature fresh seafood, various meats, vegetables, and unique ingredients found in the region. The flavors are bold and rich, reflecting the Li people's culinary traditions and their close connection to the land and the sea.  


In recent years, the Long Table Banquet has gained popularity as a tourist attraction, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere and taste the flavors of Li cuisine. It has become a symbol of Hainan's cultural diversity and a way to promote the rich heritage of the Li people. 

Jenny's Tip: If you've got chance, you must try the Shanlan wine which is a traditional alcoholic beverage associated with the Li people. It is a type of rice wine that holds great cultural and historical significance among the Li people. 

Shanlan wine is handmade using traditional methods passed down through generations. It is made from glutinous rice, a unique type of rice that is sticky and has a high amylopectin content. The production process involves steaming the rice, fermenting it in a sealed container, and then distilling the fermented mixture. 

What sets Shanlan wine apart is its distinct flavor and aroma. It has a sweet and mellow taste with a hint of fruitiness, and it is characterized by a strong fragrance similar to flowers or herbs. The name "Shanlan" actually translates to "mountain orchid," which reflects the delicate and pleasant fragrance of the wine. 

Drinking Shanlan wine is an important part of Li cultural traditions and social gatherings. It is often served during festive occasions, weddings, and other celebrations. The wine is typically presented in beautifully crafted clay or bamboo containers, adding to its aesthetic appeal. 

Shanlan wine is not only a drink but also a representation of Li ethnic culture and traditions. It captures the essence of the Li people's connection to their land, their respect for nature, and their love for sharing their heritage with others. 


2. Miao: The Miao people, also known as the Hmong, have a significant presence in Hainan. They have their own language, customs, and traditional dress. The Miao ethnic group is known for their colorful festivals, intricate embroidery, and silver jewelry.



3. Hui: The Hui people are a Muslim ethnic group that resides in various parts of China, including Hainan. They have their own unique Islamic traditions, language, and cuisine. The Hui ethnic group has made valuable contributions to the cultural diversity and religious landscape of Hainan.



4. Zhuang: While the Zhuang ethnic group is primarily concentrated in Guangxi Province, they also have a presence in Hainan. The Zhuang people have a rich cultural heritage, including their distinctive clothing, music, and dance forms.


5. Yao: The Yao people have a small but significant community in Hainan. They have their own language, customs, and traditional practices. The Yao ethnic group is known for their vibrant costumes, intricate weaving skills, and agricultural knowledge.


These minority ethnic groups, along with the Han Chinese majority, contribute to the multicultural fabric of Hainan Province, enriching its traditions, festivals, cuisine, and overall cultural landscape.