Religions & Beliefs of Ethnic Groups

China is a country with multiple religions, and the religions & beliefs of ethnic groups are also diverse. There are “man-made religions” originating from class society, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity. There are also “spontaneous religions” originating in primitive societies, such as shamanism, animism or polytheism, animal and plant worship, totem worship and ancestor worship.

1. Religions of Ethnic Groups

Buddhism was introduced to China from the Eastern Han Dynasty. It not only has a large number of followers among the Han nationality, but also has a wide influence in the minority nationalities. The combination of Mahayana Buddhism, one of the Buddhist sects, and Tibetan local religion (Bon religion) forms Tibetan Buddhism, which is widely popular in Tibetan, Mongolia, Tu, Yugur, Naxi, Menba and other ethnic groups, as well as in some areas inhabited by Loba, Xibo, Nu and other ethnic groups. Another school of Buddhism, the Southern Upper Buddhism, is widely spread among the Dai, Achang, Bulang and De’ang ethnic groups in Yunnan, especially among Dai ethnic group, almost everyone believes in it.

Islam was introduced into China shortly after its founding. The ethnic minorities who mainly believe in Islam are Hui, Uygur, Dongxiang, Sarah, Baoan, Kazakhstan, Kirgiz, Tajik, Uzbek and Tatar. Islam not only has a complete religious system in Xinjiang Uygur region, but also has formed special systems such as “Menhuan system” and “Imamu system” among the Hui people in Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and other places. It penetrates deeply into the political, economic, cultural and social life of these ethnic groups.

Taoism is a native religion in our country. Among the minority nationalities, the believers are mainly Bai people in Yunnan and Yi people in Yunnan and Sichuan. Yao, Zhuang, Miao, Tujia and Li people in Guangxi, Hunan and Guizhou provinces and regions believe in Taoism.Taoism has a wide range of activities, and the names of temples are various, such as “Sanjie Temple”, “Beidi Temple”, “Duluo Temple”, “Dawang Temple” and so on.

The three major Christian denominations (Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodox Church) entered China at different times. It was introduced into China twice before it split up: once in the Tang Dynasty, another in the Yuan Dynasty, and later annihilated by itself. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the three major Christian denominations were introduced into China successively. For a long time, the overwhelming majority of Chinese people have doubted and opposed it. Among the minority nationalities in China, Christianity is generally divided into two parts: one is mainly believing in Catholicism, who are the masses of Yi, Lisu, Nu, Dulong, Tibetan, Miao, Lahu, Jingpo, Shui and Li nationalities; the other is believing in Orthodox Church, who is mainly part of the Ewenki people.

2. Primitive Beliefs of Ethnic Groups

Primitive religion has a wide range of beliefs among many ethnic minorities in China. Its manifestations can be divided into natural worship, totem worship, ancestor worship, Shamanism and various witchcraft. Natural worship is mainly prevalent among the Dulong, Nu, Lisu, De’ang, Lahu, Li and Gaoshan nationalities in the southwest and Central-South regions. Miao, Yi and Yao nationalities also retain it to some extent. According to the different beliefs of different nationalities, natural worship can be divided into celestial worship, fire worship, animal and plant worship.

Totem worship is common among some ethnic minorities in the border areas of China, such as the She and Yao people worship Pan Hu; the Lisu People in Yunnan Nu River take animals as totem such as animals tiger, sheep, toad, fish, rat, monkey, bear and plant bamboo, buckwheat, frost of natural weather, and transport vessels, etc; the Nu people take tiger, bear, snake, and suede as the totem; some of the Li people in Hainan regard pigs as their ancestors. Ewenki and Oroqen people think they are related to bears. The main ancestor worship nationalities are Wa, Jingpo, Lisu, Yi in Liangshan and Li in the central area of Wuzhishan in Hainan.

Primitive witchcraft is diverse among ethnic minorities in China, and its content and form are more complex. Among the minority nationalities in China, the relatively complete primitive religion is the Shamanism prevalent in the Oroqen, Ewenki and Hezhe nationalities in Northeast China, which is a primitive religion combining various worship and witchcraft. There are three kinds of gods: Mennacha, the mountain god in charge of hunting and production, and Sima, the God of wealth, who protects the flourishing animals and animals (i.e., Tailu Boru and Jiyaqi), the God of diseases, which has the largest number. Shamanism holds that man and God are interlinked, so activities in the form of “sorcerer’s dance in a trance” are very mysterious.

Ethnic Culture Tour with Us

The most popular destinations for minority discovery are YunnanGuizhouGuangxi, Xinjiang and Tibet, which also boasts amazing natural scenery at the same time. Yunnan province has the largest number of ethnic population in China with 25 ethnic minorities. Join our minority discovery tours, and you definitely will have great fun by discovering the ethnic villages, enjoying the local performance and taking parting in the local big event.

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