home> Nationalities in southwest China> Hani Nationality

Brilliant Creators of Terrace Culture

The Hani People, one of Chinese minority nationalities, with a population of 1,253,952 at present, mainly inhabit counties like Yuanjiang, Mojiang, Lvchun, Jinping and Jiangchen, etc., between Honghe River and Lancangjiang River in southern Yunnan. They are also distributed over cities, prefectures and counties like Simao, Xishuangbanna, Lancang, and so on.

Dancing Hani GirlsHani, according to Chinese historical records, used to be called Heyi (Heman), Heni, Woni, Ani, Hani, and called themselves in more than 30 kinds of ways, such as Hani, Aini, Biyue, Kaduo, Haoni, Baihong, Budu, Duoni, Yeche, Amu, etc. 

The Hani People have their own language, which belongs to Yi, under the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It can be identified between three dialects, as Ha(ni)-Ai(ni), Bi(yue)-Ka(duo) and Hao(ni)-Bai(hong), and several local dialects. Originally, the Hanis had no writing system. It was not until the fifties last century that a system of Pinyin language was created for them, which is still in the probation period now.

Most of the Hanis inhabited in mountain areas between 800 and 2500 meters above sea level, mainly engaged in agriculture, especially flourishing in terrace rice-planting culture. The output of shellac in Mojiang occupies first place in the country. Airushan, where the Ainis live in Xishuangbanna, is one of the main growing areas of the famous Pu'er Tea. The winding Ailaoshan Mountain is endowed with boundless ancient forests and many kinds of rare birds and animals under national protection. Geqiu city, capital of Honghe Autonomous Prefecture, is the famous "Tin Capital" in our country.

The Hani People believes that all things of creation have souls and the soul never vanishes after people's death. Consequently, nature worship and ancestor worship prevail a lot, together with a wealth of oral literature and folk dance. No matter men or women, old or young, all loves taking instruments like Bawu and bamboo flutes along with them. They start their New Year in October by the lunar calendar, and their most significant traditional festivals are "Zhalete" (October New Year, that is, the New Year) and "Kuzhazha" (May Festival).

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