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The total population of Hainan Island is approximately 7 million. Though this number is now predominantly comprised of Han Chinese, there are still 39 minority groups living in Hainan  including Li Nationality, Miao Nationality and Hui Nationality. According to the recent census, the total population in Sanya is 481,200. The main nationalities are Han, Li, Miao and Hui. The minorities, including Li, Miao and Hui, have their own languages but they all can speak the common spoken Chinese.

Li Nationality

Li people are original inhabitants on the island of Hainan with the second largest population of about 1.3 million, Li people are good at weaving and the cloth was called Zhi Jing. They also have their unique national custom and living styles such as food, dressing, festivals, wedding parties, funeral parties, funeral arties and other ceremonies. Lunar March 3rd festival is their largest and most important traditional festival in a year, when Li people welcome their guests with sweet bamboo sticking-rice and Bamboo Dance. Li people are most likely having emigrated from Chinas Fujian province. 


Miao Nationality

The next largest minority population, the Miao at 60,000, came from southern China. Li and Miao people, these two minorities are the original occupants of the island and can be found living in the dense interior jungles. There are about 4,000 Miao people living in Sanya area. They originally come to Hainan in Ming Dynasty as military troops. They create their special medicine. Miao people used to live in the mountain and make living by hunting. They are good at dancing, their cloth are very colorful and special.


Hui Nationality

The third most prominent minority group is the Hui (population 10,000) who originally came to Sanya from Vietnam, during the Song or Yuan Dynasty, in the eleventh century. They believe in Islam. The Hui people have their own festivals including celebration of the Muslim New Year. There is a town called Yanglan Town, about 7,000 Hui people are living there. Yanglan Town is one 15 minutes from Sanya Downtown, northwest of Sanya. The Hui nationality believes in Islam, Hui Mosque features a large central prayer and meeting hall and wonderfully ornate middle-eastern architecture and design. On the way to airport, you can see two white temple towers, curved roof and arched entrance which are especially inviting.

All of these colorful minority groups contribute to the islands diverse festivals, dress, food, music and handicrafts.

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