As you know I am a tad China crazy and here I am trying to help every future China Traveller understand how this country ticks, because let’s be honest, the culture shock can be immense, if you don’t know what to expect.
China is Diverse!
Diverse = many and different from each other
Yeah officially the biggest ethnic group are the Han Chinese about 92%. But the other 8 % still make up several million people.There are about 56 officially recognized Ethnic Groups and quite a few not recognized ones. They are adding so much diversity to the cultures, food and religious beliefs, that I at least have to list some of the major Ethnic Groups.
Because when you come to China, you should definitely pay some of them a visit, just to truly understand the Beauty of the Chinese Culture and it’s History.
- Miao: They live mainly in Hainan, Yunnan, Hubei, Hunan Province and believe that Nature has a spirit, with many of them believing in Wizards. Now that’s already a reason for me to be fascinated. But then there is also the amazing Handicraft of them and the colorful dresses the woman wear. These vary a lot from region to region. They celebrate quite a few festivals but the New Rice Tasting Festival sounds the most interesting. To celebrate the harvest they cook up great food and have dances.
- Mongol: Well who hasn’t heard of the fearless Mongolians. Most living in Inner Mongolia. This is one of the rare places in China that rely a lot on Milk products. If you visit their area, try to go during the Nadam Fair in late August, to witness amazing horsemanship, shooting and wrestling. Not to say that they are also known as an open, friendly and outgoing ethnic group.
- Lisu: Another Minority living in Yunnan. They are said to be really friendly and their woman wear the most beautiful dresses. So in short their crafts are to be admired. But what is really interesting is the Knife Pole Festival on the eight Day of the second lunar month. Go figure what the man of the Lisu do on this day, literally climb a mountain of knives.
- Uygur: They are one of the Moslem Minorities and have their own autonomous region. They are known for their Gold and Metal works, certain regions are famous for their amazing knives. When you visit, try to time it with a festival to witness their dances.
- Zang/ Tibetan: It isn’t easy to get into Tibet, but oh Boy it’s worth it. From the amazing scenery, to the deep-rooted religious traditions. They have a lot of different festivals all over the year and are generally very welcoming.
And there are so many more. Each Ethnic Group has their own religions, food, language, clothing, crafts and festivals. Getting to know them can broaden your views of China. And if all of these are not diverse, I do not know what would be. If you like to know more about the ethnic groups, check this link out!
As diverse as their people is China’s Food. There are about 8 Chinese Cuisines, without the Minority Cuisines.
From spicy like Sichuan, to mild and fresh like Guangdong. Some use more fish, others rely on mutton.
Whenever I hear : “I don’t like Chinese Food” , I tend to cringe. Because in most cases they tried one dish, but the Cuisines are so diverse, that I am pretty sure that everybody will find food they love in China. You just have to know where to look.
Another point showing that China is diverse is it’s scenery.
From Hawaii feeling in Hainan, Jungle Adventures down South, Mountains in Sichuan, the deserts in the west, the cold forests up north, buzzing Sea Towns at the Coasts, long flowing rivers and high mountains.
China literally has everything. With a country of this size you have mostly all climate zones and with them a huge diversity of animals, plants and landscapes.
China is as diverse as a place can be. But then most countries are diverse, if we just take a second to look closer. We really have to stop putting places into boxes, because there is so much more to a country then just the obvious.
And without exploring the diversity of a Country, you can never say you truly know a place.
Give China a try. It is so much more than a giant factory. It has incredible cultures and landscapes
Yes, China is diverse!
See you next week =)