Han Chinese

Han is the largest of the 56 ethnic groups in China, and the other 55 are considered minorities. Not only the Han people make up more than 91% of the total Chinese population, they are also the largest ethnic group in the world. The name Han comes from the Han Dynasty.

Han people's language is collectively known as Chinese; the spoken form called Hanyu and the written form Hanzi. Considered the "common tongue" amongst China's ethnic minorities, it belongs to the Sino-Tibetan Phylum and divided into seven dialects: Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka, Gan, Xiang, Wu and Min. Standard Mandarin is mostly spoken in China and Taiwan, while Cantonese is the dialect used in Hong Kong and the southern province of Guangdong. Chinese is one of the official languages of the United Nations.

Han's traditional cuisine has been influenced by the cooking styles of other ethnic minorities within China, but their staple diet consists of rice and wheat. Roasted Peking Duck, dumplings, spring rolls, noodles, and wanton are a few popular examples of Han cuisine enjoyed around the world.

Hanfu (translated means "clothing of the Han people") refers to their pre-17th century traditional style of dress. Following the invasion of the Manchu in 1644, Hanfu was eliminated and disappeared. In the recent past, the Han people wore the usually gray colored, two-piece "Mao suit, named after the former Chinese leader, Mao Tse-tung. It is still worn by some peasants living in the countryside.

Buddhism is the main religion of the Han, with strong influences from Confucianism and Taoism. However, with the arrival of missionaries to China, some have converted to Christianity. Han festivals are known for their pomp and pageantry. Most of these festivals are celebrated amongst the other 55 minority ethnic groups within China. The most important celebrations are the Dragon Boat Festival, Spring Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Lantern Festival.

Learn more about Chinese history, people and languages, please visit Why Study Abroad in China