Zhangjiajie Culture

Zhangjiajie, the city of Hunan, is not only fascinating with its landscapes and human landscapes, but also its colorful ethnic customs, simple folk customs, unique regional culture, such as farming, festivals, costumes, diet and daily life, weddings and funerals, architecture, language, religious beliefs, etc. constitute a rich and colorful folk customs picture for your Zhangjiajie Travel.

Ethnic Groups in Zhangjiajie

In Zhangjiajie City, there are ethnic minorities such as Tujia, Bai, Miao and Hui. The total population of ethnic minorities is more than 700,000, accounting for about 50% of the city's total population. Among the ethnic minorities, the main ethnic minorities are Tujia, Bai, Miao and Hui. What's more, there are also a few Man, Yi and Yao people.

Ethnic Townships in Zhangjiajie

Administrative Division Ethnic Township
Cili County Sanguansi Tujia Ethnic Township(三官寺土家族乡), Gaofeng Tujia Ethnic Township(高峰土家族乡), Xujiafang Tujia Ethnic Township(许家坊土家族乡), Jinyan Tujia Ethnic Township(金岩土家族乡), Zhaojiagang Tujia Ethnic Township(赵家岗土家族乡), Ganyan Tujia Ethnic Township(甘堰土家族乡), Yanghe Tujia Ethnic Township(阳和土家族乡)
Sangzhi County  Zoumaping Bai Ethnic Township(走马坪白族乡), Liujiaping Bai Ethnic Township(刘家坪白族乡), Hongjiaguan Bai Ethnic Township(洪家关白族乡), Furongqiao Bai Ethnic Township(芙蓉桥白族乡), Mahekou Bai Ethnic Township(马合口白族乡)

Traditional Villages in Zhangjiajie

  • Hongjiaguan Village of Hongjiaguan Bai Ethnic Town in Sangzhi County, Zhangjiajie
  • Miaogang Village of Siduping Township in Yongding District, Zhangjiajie
  • Shiyanping Village of Wangjiaping Township in Yongding District, Zhangjiajie
  • Sanjiawan Village of Wangjiaping Town in Yongding District, Zhangjiajie

Unique Villages Recommended by China Dragon Tours

  • Furongqiao Village of Sangzhi County in Zhangjiajie
  • Yanghuping Village of Yongding District in Zhangjiajie
  • Yuanguping of Yongding District in Zhangjiajie
  • Kuzhu Village of Sangzi County in Zhangjiajie

Inheritors of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Zhangjiajie

Order Number Name Sex Date of Birth Project Name Declaration Place Classification
04-1584 Zhong Huilong(钟会龙) Male 1932.05 Zhanggu Dance(仗鼓舞) Sangzhi County, Zhangjiajie Traditional Dance
05-2038 Shang Shengwu(尚生武) Male   Sangzhi Folk Song(桑植民歌) Sangzhi County, Zhangjiajie Traditional Music
05-2227 Zhou Chunqin周纯勤 Male   Sanyeerhe of Tujia(土家族撒叶儿嗬) Sangzhi County, Zhangjiajie Traditional Dance

Ethnic Festivals in Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie, a place with many ethnic minorities, has many unique folk festivals and the strong customs, which have become the major scenery line of Zhangjiajie Tourism. Although there are many traditional festivals in China, the most exciting is undoubtedly unique festivals for all ethnic groups.

  • Birthday of Earth God(土地神生日)
  • Huachao Festival(花朝大期)
  • Sagebrush Festival(蒿子节)
  • Buddha Bathing Festival(浴佛节)
  • The Torch Festival of Bai Minority(白族火把节)
  • New Year of Tujia Minority(土家新年)
  • Tujia June 6(土家六月六)
  • Zhangjiajie International Forest Festival

History of Zhangjiajie

The city itself was previously named Dayong (大庸), and has a recorded history dating back to 221 BC. People lived here along both banks of the Lishui River (the mother river in Zhangjiajie), now within the boundaries of Zhangjiajie City, very early during the Stone Age. Human settlement in this region dates back 100,000 years, rivaling such famous sites as Xi’an, Beijing and others. In 1986, the Academy of Chinese Social Science discovered Stone Age relics in Cili County, unearthing 108 articles of stoneware; mostly tapered-form, hacked-tamped and plate-shaped works. According to archaeological experts’ textual research, all of these wares were produced about 100,000 years ago. Shortly thereafter, in 1988, the Archaeological Institute of Hunan Province found other relics in Sangzhi County, including three pieces of stoneware which were estimated to have been fashioned over 100,000 years ago.

In ancient times, Zhangjiajie was regarded as remote and inaccessible. The history of Zhangjiajie can be traced back to the Neolithic Age when it was still named “Dayong”. The first human traces in this area have been registered about 100,000 years ago. Like other places in China, a legend has been developed by ancient people. It said that Zhang Liang-a famed strategist of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD), lived here after leaving the imperial court. He lived in fear he would be killed by Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty who had ordered some of his subjects executed out of suspicion they might rebel against him. Zhang found Qingyan (now Zhangjiajie) Mountain is an ideal refuge due to its haunting beauty and tranquility. He became a hermit. It is said he planted seven ginkgo trees here. He was buried below Qingyan (now Zhangjiajie) Mountain. Zhang’s descendants also are believed to have lived here, which is how the name Zhangjiajie originated. Zhang refers to Zhang Liang’s surname, while Jia means family and Jie represents homeland or border.

Customs Culture in Zhangjiajie

There are some ethnic minorities in Zhangjiajie, such as Tujia, Bai, Miao and Hui. Therefore, the customs vary. For example, Tujia wedding customs are very interesting. The Tujia Minority’s type of martial arts is famous throughout the country. The hometown of Helong marshal, Hongjiaguan, Sangzhi County is well-known as the land of Martial arts. There, the local martial arts vary, which shows the characteristics of the Tujia Minority people and their strength.

Taboo Culture in Zhangjiajie

  • A raven is indicated the death or ill omen.
  • The number 36 is taboo. When recording numbers, it should start from 1 after 35.
  • It is forbidden to sneeze because it means that someone speaks ill of you or uses witchcraft on you.
  • Travel taboos: The 7th and 9th of every month are inappropriate to go out and 8th is inappropriate to go home.
  • Tujia language, rude epithets, vulgar words and impolite remarks are not allowed to use when communicating with the people.
  • Do not touch others on the head. It is forbidden to touch a Tujia Minority male’s head for any reason except by his own grandparents and parents.