Miao ethnic group, with a population over 8.9 million, is one of the largest ethnic groups in southwest China. The ancestors of Miao people can be traced back to the Chiyou tribe, a tribe in the primitive society in the Central Plains. During the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Miao's ancestors began to construct their kingdom in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Later, they gradually migrated to the southern part of China.
Miao people mainly live in Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Sichuan provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and a small number live on Hainan Island in Guangdong Province and in southwest Hubei Province. Most of them live in tightly-knit communities, with a few living in areas inhabited by several other ethnic groups.
Miao people used to believe in many gods and worship their ancestors or dragons. Now some of them believe in the Catholic or Christian religion. Miao people are fond of singing and dancing. Their songs are very pleasant, rhyming and affecting and with a very deep emotional content. The Miao's dances include the lusheng dance, drum dance and bench dance. Lushen is the favorite musical instrument of Miao people. In addition, flutes, copper drum, mouth organs, xiao (a vertical bamboo flute) and suona horn are popular with the Miao people.
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