People & Culture
Introduction | Tribes |
Art & Craft | Music & Dance | Traditional Weddings | Festivals
The Wa ethnic minority, with a population of 396,610, lives primarily in Ximeng, Sanxian, Cangyuan, Menglian, Gengma, Lancang, Shuangjiang, Zhenkang and Yongde counties of Yunnan Province in southwestern part of China. The Was have their own language and characters. The Wa language belongs to Mon-Khmer branch of the Austro-Asiatic language family, and is divided into three dialects: "Baraoke", "Awa" and "Wa". The old Wa character was created by British missionaries for the purpose of propagating Christianity and was comparatively rough. After the new China was founded, the Party and the people's government created new characters for them. Before the new founding of new China, the Wa people believed in the power of natural things and thought all things such like water, mountain, and wood have their magical or spiritual power. The mightiest god was called 'Muyiji', and his five sons were the ancestors of the Wa. In recent years, some of the Wa have become followers of Buddhism and Christianity. Agriculture is the main economy for the Wa people. They like to eat red rice, drink strong tea, eat chili, chew betel nut and drink watery wine. With a subtropical climate, the fertile Awa region has plentiful rainfall and only 40 frost-free days a year. It is suitable for the growth of dry rice, paddy, maize, millet, buckwheat, potatoes, cotton, hemp, tobacco and sugarcane, as well as such subtropical fruits as bananas, pineapples, mangoes, papayas and oranges. Their house is mostly two-storey bamboo building. The main color of their traditional clothes is black. New Rice Festival is the grandest festival. Their literature and art are rich and colorful, and the bamboo culture has special characters.
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