Yunnan People

The Dai ladies ward off the hot tropical sun
in Xishaung Banna, in the South of Yunnan.

The March Festival in Dali, where
the 13 local minorities celebrate.

      With a population of 36 million, Yunnan has the most nationalities in the great family of China. There are 24 diverse minority nationalities, which include over 12 million people, constituting one third of the province's total population and one sixth of China's total minority population. They display their rich and distinctive features, such as the vastly different styles of buildings, the various colorful costumes and ornaments, the folk songs and dances brimming with idyllic flavors and very interesting marital customs.
      The predominate group is the Han as in China as a whole. While many languages are spoken and written by the different minorities Mandarin is the offical language. A very interesting but totally different from Chinese characters is the written language still practiced by the Naxi of Lijiang.
      Yunnan and Kunming in particular are home to many refugees from Viet Nam. These refugees started arriving in 1977 and today there are over 150,000 Vietnamese living in Kunming alone. Many more call the border area close to Viet Nam home.
      The Water Splashing Festival of the Dai, Torch Festival of the Yi and March Fair of the Bai are the main celebrations of these minorities.

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