Brief Introduction of Tujia Ethnic Group

The descendants of Ba people

Tujia, one of the Chinese ethnic minorities, now has a population of more than 5,700,000. They are mainly distributed in Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture in west Hunan Province, Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Hubei Province’s Enshi area, Sichuan Province’s Shizhu, Xiushan, Qiuyang, Qianjiang, and Guizhou Province’s Yanhe and Yingjiang counties.

Tujia people claim themselves to be “Bicika”, “Mijika”, “Beijingka” and so on, which means “local people” or “people who are locally born and bred”. It is a single minority evolved from the ancient Ba people after a long term, and merged with part of the Han nationality and other ethnic minorities.

The Tujia nationality has its own language, but no characters. The Tujia language belongs to the Tibetan-Burmese branch of the Han-Tibetan family. Chinese is now much in common use.

The economy of Tujia relies mainly on agriculture. Its main crops are rice, millet and beans. The staple food covers rice and maize. They like sour and hot food, and they also like drinking. The dresses they wear no longer show unique nationality. Only a few women in the high mountainous areas still wear a Chinese garment, which buttons on the right clothing, with lace inlaid on the front pieces. And their heads are twined with blue and green silk handkerchief or cloth handkerchief of two to three meters long.

Tujia has many traditional festivals, including “April 8th”, “June 6th” and “Tujia New Year”. “Tujia New Year” is the grandest one, commonly called “catching the New Year”. As to marriage, young men and women have the freedom to love. They may seek their love on various kinds of meetings and occasions. During their marriage, the custom of “crying and marrying” is prevailing. The culture and arts of Tujia people are gorgeous. For example, the poems are abundant in content, and various in styles. The folk music is also of great variety. The vocal music includes working song, folk song, and supernatural song. Instrumental music includes percussion music and wind music. “Daliuzi” is honored as the symphony of Tujia. The dramas cover “Cogongrass Goose,” South play, Qiu play and so on. “Xilankapu” is its traditional handcraft, exquisite and colorful, and enjoys worldwide reputation since the ancient time.