The Li nationality 黎族


Chinese Name: 黎族

English Name: The Li nationality

Languages: Li language 黎语, Chinese 汉语

Total population: 1.46*106 (China mainland 2022)

Distribution: Hainan Province

The Li nationality  黎族
The Li nationality 黎族

Brief introduction

The Li nationality 黎族 is the earliest inhabitants of Hainan 海南. The Li language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family 汉藏语系. Most of the Li people can speak Chinese. In the past, the Li people did not have their own national script, and the Chinese language was commonly used. In 1957, with the help of the party and the government, the Li language based on the Latin alphabet was created, and their beliefs are still in the stage of primitive religion.

The Li nationality  黎族
Hainan island 海南岛

The history of the Li nationality

There are many different views on the origin of the Li people in the past. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese scholars, according to the literature records, combined with a large number of archaeological, linguistic, ethnological materials and previous research results, most people believe that the Li nationality developed from the ancient Baiyue 百越.

Since the 1950s, many Neolithic cultural sites have been discovered in the inhabited areas of the Li nationality in Hainan. From the analysis of the cultural properties of the unearthed cultural relics, they are related to the Neolithic culture with distinctive Baiyue cultural characteristics found in Guangdong and the southeastern coastal areas. In addition, bronze drums, which are an important feature of Baiyue culture, have been unearthed on Hainan Island since the Ming Dynasty 明朝. These all prove that the origin of the Li nationality is inseparable from Baiyue.

The Li nationality  黎族
Bronze drum 铜鼓

The religion of the Li nationality

The traditional society of the Li has not yet formed a complete religious system and is in the stage of primitive religion. The Li people believe in animism, and popular totem worship, nature worship and ancestor worship. There are many traditional taboos of the Li nationality, involving life, production, childbirth, festivals, funerals, marriage, religion, hunting, etc. Since the founding of New China, the situation in this area has changed greatly.

The Cultures of the Li nationality

The costumes of the Li nationality 黎族的服饰

The traditional costumes of the Li people have rich cultural connotations and obvious differences in different dialects. Historically, they used to be an important symbol to distinguish different blood groups and tribal groups.

The Li nationality  黎族
The costumes of the Li nationality 黎族的服饰

In traditional costumes, Li women often wear straight-collared, collarless, buttonless tops, skirts of different lengths, embroidered headscarves, earrings, collars and bracelets. Men’s traditional attire is usually tied in front of the forehead or behind the head.

The diet of the Li nationality 黎族的饮食

The Li people generally eat three meals a day, mainly rice. The meat tea and fish tea, which are made by mixing raw fish and meat with fried rice noodles, adding a little salt, and sealing in a clay pot, are the special flavour foods preserved by the Li family.

The Li nationality  黎族
fish tea 鱼茶

Betel nut is a favourite product of women. When eating it, it is combined with shell ash, wrapped in a green betel leaf, and the lips are dyed red after eating.

The traditional architecture of the Li nationality 黎族的传统建筑

The traditional houses of the Li people are mostly simple thatched houses. They live in traditional boat-shaped houses in the hinterland of Wuzhi Mountain. The boat-shaped houses are framed with bamboo and wood, covered with thatch, and made of rattan or bamboo as the floor, about half a meter above the ground.

The Li nationality  黎族
The traditional architecture of the Li nationality 黎族的传统建筑

The Literature of the Li nationality 黎族的文学

The Li nationality is rich in oral literature, and folk tales and ballads occupy a very important position. Its folk literature has a distinct national character. Through the form of literature and art, it sings the heroes of people’s ideals, records the deeds of the working people’s conquest of nature, depicts the customs of the Li nationality, and expresses the love and hatred of the Li people.

The Li nationality  黎族

Almost everyone of the Li people can sing folk songs, and most can touch the scene and express their emotions. They regard folk songs as their lyrical tools. The sentences of folk songs are more common in five or seven characters. They are expressed in a variety of ways. They are very particular about rhythm and rhythm and are easy to pass on.

The nose flute of the Li nationality 黎族的鼻箫

The nose flute is one of the folk musical instruments of the Li people. The nose flute is played with the nostrils, soft and low, suitable for lyricism. The mouth bow is made of thin bamboo or copper pieces, and the rhythm is free by flicking the bow pieces with fingers when playing. The water flute has a crisp tone and a loud volume.

The Li nationality  黎族
nose flute 鼻箫

The Li nationality (黎族)

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