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Home >> Yunnan Travel Guide >> Xishuangbanna Travel Guide >> Attractions >> Dai Ethnic Group

Dai Ethnic Group

Dai Ethnic Group, Yunnan travel to XishuangbannaThe Dai ethnic minority group is mainly present in the Xishuanggbanna Dai and Dehong Dai-Ji Autonomous Prefectures, Gengma Dai-Wa and Menglian Dai-Lahu Autonomous Counties of the Yunnan Province, and some in Xinping, Yuanjiang, Simao, Tengchong, Longling, Shuangjiang, Ximeng, and Yuanyang of the Yunnan Province.

The Dai population has reached as high as 1.2 million according to the 5th national population census in 2000. The people have a close relationship with the Shan ethnic group in Burma, the Lao in Laos, the Tai in Thailand, and the Ahongtai in India. In total, the number of Dai has reached over 60 million around the globe . And not only are the Dai good at singing and dancing, but also have also created their own glorious culture in Chinese history, especially in medicine and in forming the Dai calendar.

HistoryAccording to historical record s, the history of the Dai ethnic minority people can be traced back to the first century. The Yizhou Prefecture was established by Emperor Wu in the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 25 A.D.), controlling southwest minorities in the area during which the Dai ethnic region was located in the southwest of the Yizhou Prefecture. The Yongchang Prefecture was established in 69 A.D., and the Dai were then put under the leadership of the Yongchang governor. From the 8th to the 13th century, t he Dai people were under the control of Nanzhao, which was founded by the Yi and Bai ethnic minority groups respectively . The Yunnan Province was established in the Yuan Dynasty (1 206 -1 368 ), and a chieftain system was carried out among Bai ethnic communities in the province, which was inherited by the Ming Dynasty (1 368 -1 644 ). Han officials later took the places of the local chieftains in the Qing Dynasty (1 616 -1 911 ).

Since the foundation of the People 's Republic of China, the Dai ethnic group has made great progress in agriculture, industry, and handicrafts, and the people enjoy a high standard of living. Today, the Dai ethnic minority region has become known as the home of peacocks in China.

LanguageThe Dai ethnic minority community shares the same Dai language which belongs to the Zhuang-Dong family of the Sino-Tibetan language system. It can be divided into three dialects: the Dehong , Xishuangbanna, and Jinping d ialects.

ReligionBuddhism is the primary religion in the Dai group, and they worship Sakyamuni as the only god.

ArchitectureThe bamboo buildings of the Dai ethnic minority group are in the shape of squares, supported by tens of big bamboo stalks , covered by esparto grass on the top. They are usually divided into 2 stories, among which the first story is for animals and the second is for the whole family. This layout is not only good for ventilation , but also to allow optimal amounts of sunlight into the building.

Crafts Dai ethnic crafts are mainly brocades, pottery , bags, woven bamboo products, paper cuttings, and silver ware .

Food and DrinksThe diet of the Dai ethnic minority is based on rice : those in the Hongde area enjoy non-glutinous rice, and the people from Xishuangbanna consume glutinous rice. Sour and spicy food is favored by the Dai , and they also prefer aquatic products such as lobster and fish. The most distinctive food in the Dai ethnic communities is bamboo-tube rice.

As for drinks, puer tea is the specialty from Xishuangbanna of the Yunnan Province, which has been famous all over the world since the Tang Dynasty (618 -907 ). These days, it is a very popular export to Western Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asian c ountries . In addition, the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture is rich in fruits, so visitors can enjoy many different kinds of subtropical treats . The most famous dishes of the Dai ethnic minority are chicken casserole with coconut , baked fish, fried sesame cakes, and raw cured fermented meat.

ClothingDai ethnic clothing is very unique among China's 55 ethnic minority groups and varies from one area to another among the communities. Generally speaking, the men wear collarless short-sleeved shirts and long trousers, heavy felts on cold days, and with white or blue headbands on their heads. Women wear traditional long and narrow-sleeved blouses and tight skirts.

Distinctively from the other ethnic groups, tattoos are very popular among boys who often have designs decorated on their backs, bellies, and waists. On the other hand, girls prefer wearing silver and gold decorations including bracelets, rings, earring, and necklaces.

Xishuangbanna Attractions

Octagonal Pavilion
Buddhism Pagodas
Arboretum Of Tropical Plants
Wild Elephant Valley
The Water Splasing Festival
Jinghong City
Points Of Interest In Jinghong
Dai Cuisine
The Dai ethnic group
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