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Zhuang Nationality

By:Alice
Zhuang ethnic group is one of the earliest recognized ethnic groups in China. It is the second largest ethnic group among the 56 ethnic groups and the most populous ethnic group in China and also the largest ethnic minority group with a long history and splendid culture in China.


History of Zhuang Nationality
Zhuang area was administered by the central government as early as 2000 years ago. In 221 BC The First Emperor was the first feudal emperor of China to unify China. He conquered the area and established three counties there. The emperor ordered the building of a spiritual canal to facilitate irrigation. He also launched a project to move people from other places to the region and strengthen its political, economic and cultural ties with central and southern China. Zhuang also made great contributions to the 1911 revolution, the first democratic revolution in China led by Sun Yat-sen. Many Zhuang people became major members of the Tung Meng Hui established by Sun Yat-sen to advance his revolutionary cause.


Distribution of Zhuang Nationality
Zhuang Autonomous Region in Guangxi is the main area of Zhuang, a total of 14.2071 million people (2000), accounting for about 87.81% of Zhuang population, mainly live in, Congzuo City of Nanning, Baise, Hechi City, Liuzhou City, Laibin City, Guigang City, etc. The places where the Zhuang people live are basically connected to one another, most of them live in communities, and quite a few of them live with Han, Yao, Miao, Dong, Mao-lao, Mao-nan, Shui and other ethnic groups.
Zhuang Ethnic Group is a cross-border ethnic group, mainly distributed in the northern part of Vietnam which is adjacent to China. According to the different living time in Vietnam, they are collectively called Tày-Nùng, whose culture, customs and language are basically the same as those of the Zhuang Nationality in China.


Language and Character
Zhuang language belongs to Zhuang - Dai language branch of Zhuang - Dong language group of Sino-Tibetan languages. There are two big dialects, north and south, but the grammatical structure and basic vocabulary are roughly the same.
Since the Tang and Song Dynasties, Zhuang people have been popular "local custom characters", which is based on the Chinese characters, using the combination of sound and meaning of Chinese characters.
However, due to the large regional differences in the ancient Zhuang characters, the lack of norms, so Zhuang Ethnic Groups could not form a unified Zhuang language, mainly relying on Chinese for communication.


Religion
Zhuang Ethnic group has no unified religious belief.  Zhuang people believe in many gods, such as god of heaven, god of thunder, god of earth, god of rock, god of tree, god of frog, god of flower and god of ancestors. The Zhengyi Dao and Taiyi Dao of Han Daoism are also popular in the Zhuang area, and its clergy "Daogong" are praised in Zhuang. Daogong has no fixed temple, but mainly conducts temporary ritual activities in the form of altar groups and classes. Besides the special ones of Taoism, the worship and worship of gods also includes the local gods of Buddhism and Zhuang Nationality. After the middle of the 19th Century, Christianity and Catholicism were introduced into the Zhuang area one after another, and Christian and Catholic churches were established in some towns in the Zhuang area to develop believers, but the influence was mainly limited to some urban residents.


Diet
Zhuang Nationality is one of the earliest ethnic groups to cultivate rice. The culture of rice cultivation is very developed, and rice has naturally become the staple food of Zhuang People. Rice production methods are various, such as steaming, boiling, stir-frying, braising, frying, and so on. Various kinds of rice, rice congee, rice flour, rice cake, glutinous rice cake, glutinous rice dumplings, Tang yuan, etc., are the daily favorite food of Zhuang people. If mixed with other materials, can also be made into many more delicious and nutritious food, such as eight treasure rice, eight treasure porridge, bamboo rice, pumpkin rice, "color sticky rice" and so on.
Zhuang people living in the arid mountainous area, because it is not suitable to grow rice, they eat corn as their staple food.
Zhuang people like to eat aquatic products, fish and clam, all for the precious taste. The fungi and fruits, cicadas, snakes and animals in the forest are also the daily delicacies of the Zhuang people.
Betel nut chewing is a traditional custom of Zhuang people, and is still popular with Zhuang women in Longzhou, Guangxi. In some places, betel nut is a necessity for entertaining guests.


Custom
Zhuang people are monogamous. However, they have a strange custom that the wife can't go to her husband's house after marriage. The day after the wedding, she returned to her parents and only visited her husband occasionally during holidays or busy farming seasons. In two or three years, women will move permanently into men's homes. This custom, which often broke the harmony between husband and wife, no longer exists. Zhuang people love singing and their community is known as the "sea of songs". In the past, each Zhuang community would hold regular singing parties in designated places. In this case, young people from nearby villages would get together in their festival costumes to meet and choose their lovers through songs.


House Style
The majority of Zhuang housing are similar to the local Han. Zhuang villages in parts of southwest and northwest Guangxi still maintain the ancient traditional form of housing "STILT-HOUSE", also known as "Ma Lan". It is divided into two layers, with people living on the top and livestock and sundries stored below.
This form of housing, is the ancient Baiyue national housing characteristics, has thousands of years of history. Because it has adapted to the southern mountain terrain, climate and the prevention of the advantages of snakes and beasts infestation, so has been used until the modern.
With the development of the times, although the houses in Debao, Jingxi, Bam and other places have developed towards the direction of modern bedrooms, they are made of brick and stone or reinforced concrete.
The "pile dwelling" in the Longji Zhuang Community in Longsheng Autonomous County are the most complete preserved.


Costume
Zhuang people's costumes are mostly the same as those of the Han Nationality, but in the Western Guangxi villages, especially the middle-aged and elderly women, the characteristics of their national costumes are still preserved. For example, in the northwest of Guangxi, middle-aged and elderly Zhuang women often wear collared, left petticoat, embroidered piping clothes and trousers with piping and wide feet, with embroidered waistband at the waist, with pleated skirt and embroidered shoes, and they are fond of wearing silver jewelry. Zhuang women in Longzhou and Pingxiang areas of Southwest Guangxi are still wearing a black jacket with no collar and left skirt, a square black handkerchief on the head and black wide-legged trousers.


Festivals
Zhuang people's festivals are mostly the same with the local Han people, the Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Spring and Autumn Social Day, Qingming Festival (Tomb-sweeping Day), Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Double Ninth Festival (Chongyang Festival), New Year's Eve and other traditional Han folk festivals, are also the Zhuang people's festivals. Zhuang people have their own national characteristics of the festival is "March 3rd" Song Festival, "Cow Soul Festival", "Hungry Ghost Festival" and so on.
Zhuang people hold regular folk song rallies several times a year, among which the "March 3rd" Song Festival is the most solemn. Legend has it that there was a famous female singer named Liu Sanjie in the Tang Dynasty, who created melodious and far-reaching ballads, singing about the happiness of people engaged in labor and love, and exposing the greed and cruelty of the upper rulers.
"Cow Soul Festival", also is known as "cow king festival", "open seedling festival". Many in the day after the spring plowing, some areas fixed in the lunar April eighth day, because it is said that this day is the birth of the cattle king. Legend has it that the cow king was a god who went down to earth to help people farm on the orders of the jade emperor. People appreciate his contribution, they sacrifice the soul of the cow in its birthday.
The "Hungry Ghost Festival" on the 14th day of the seventh lunar month, also known as the "Ghost Festival", "Jingzu Festival", is next to the Spring Festival, the main content is ancestor worship and ghost.


Art
The bronze drum has a history of more than 2,000 years. More than 600 pieces have been unearthed and collected in Guangxi alone, and more than 1,400 pieces have been collected and registered in the folk collections. There are many types of drums, varying in size, with the largest being up to 1.63 meters in diameter. The weights range from 20 to 30 kilograms to nearly 500 kilograms.
The use of the drum has always been different, there are military music, folk music, sacrificial music, and the symbol of power and wealth, and so on.
Bronze drum is not only a practical object, but also a fine art. It has both embossed patterns and three-dimensional plastic objects. It is a complex of sculpture art and vertical sculpture, and a comprehensive work of art, reflecting the superb casting technology and artistic level of Zhuang craftsmen.

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