The Dong Ethnic Minority

The Dong ethnic minority has a population of nearly 3 million and lives mainly in the border areas between Guizhou, Hunan and Hubei Provinces. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), they separated from the mixed minority 'Bai Yue' and called themselves ‘Dong’. Now their population is 2,960,293. Their language is a branch of the Zhuang-Dong Group of the Sino-Tibetan phylum. However, many of them also speak Mandarin Chinese.

Dong Ladies Dancing.

Ladies doing a traditional dance


They believe all things in nature have spirits and gods. They also deeply revere their ancestors. Like other minorities they will look to their local magician to protect them from any disaster or illness.


The staple food of this ethnic minority is rice, millet, corn, wheat sorghum and glutinous rice. Oil tea is their favourite drink. The ingredients include peanuts, sesame, soybean, tea leaves, and so on. They also generally like acidic and pickled foods.


The people from this ethnic group are famous for their elegant and structurally impressive ‘Wind and Rain Bridges’ and ‘Drum Towers’.

The women are skilled at spinning and embroidering patterns of animals, plants and even pictorial representations relating to their legends. Most of their clothes are blue, black, white and purple. They are also highly adept at painting, engraving and casting ornate silver jewelry.

Wind and Rain Bridge Built by the Dong People

Wind and Rain Bridge


Like the Han, the Dong have New Year's Day, Mid Autumn Day, and Dragon Boat Festivals along with their own festivals: In the Dongnian Festival they make Ziba (cooked glutinous rice pounded into paste), chicken, and pickled carps to celebrate the harvest.

In the New Rice Tasting Festival all the families pick and cook rice and commemorate their ancestors. Bullfighting also takes place.

At the Sisters Festival, married women must return to their parents' family and spend time with their sisters. They make Ziba together and will take some to their husbands' family.

To learn more about the Dong People and other minorities click this ;Thinkquest link. (Opens new window)

Click here to learn more about the Zhuang Minority

Click here to learn about the Yao Minority

Click here to learn about the Miao Minority.

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