Travel Yunnan China : Yunnan Minorities : The Achang Nationality

The Achang Nationality

The population of the Achang nationality is only 29,000. They live in compact communities in Jiubao, Xiangsong of Lianghe County; Husa of Longchuan County in Dehong Prefecture. A small number of them are distributed in Luxi, Yingjiang, tengchong and Linglin counties. The Achang nationality developed from the ancient "Xanchuan" tribe. They were called "E-chang" and "A-chang" before the Yuan and Ming dynasties. Those living in Husa called themselves "Mengsa", "Mengsashan" or "chensa", while those in Lianghe County addressed themselves as "Hansan" and"Achang". After Liberation, they were collectively named the Achang nationality.
The Achang people have their own language which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Branch of the Sino-Tibetan Language Family (Achang Branch). Many Achang people speak Mandarin and the Dai language. Some speak the Jingpo language and Burmese. They use Han and Dai writing systems.

The Achang people believe in supernatural beings and worship their ancestors. They also believe in Hinayana Buddhism. Their major festival is the Water Splashing Festival, But they also celebrate the Huijie festival in mid -September in the lunar calendar. On this occasion, besides trading, they perform with blue dragons and white elephants made of bamboo and paper, as well as the elephant-leg-shaped musical instrument. But the grandest of all is the Wo Luo Festival which falls on January 4th on the lunar calendar. They dance and sing far into the night.

The Achang people are good at singing folk sings. There is a saying that when three Achang people sing, the whole mountain will be filled with their songs. The Achang girls often coil their hair up. They wear coats with buttons down the front and ling trousers. The married women wear pleated skirts. The men wear turbans, black white or blue coats, and black trousers. they take their bags and long swords with them wherever they go.

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