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Home > Facts > Ethnic Groups > Han People

Han People

As the largest ethnic group in both China and world wide, Han Chinese has a population of about 1.16 billion accounting for 19% of the world's total population. Over 99% of Han people live in China while others live abroad in other countries like Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, North America and many countries in Europe such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Han Chinese has become one of the main ethnic groups in those countries. For years, the Han people together with other Chinese ethnic minorities lived mainly on agriculture, and made outstanding achievements in the spheres of politics, philosophy, art, literature and natural science.

Language and Character:

Chinese belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages and is the language of the Han people. The Chinese language is divided into seven dialects namely Mandarin, Wu Dialect, Xiang Dialect, Gan Dialect, Min Dialect, Cantonese and Hakka. In different regions, the standard of Chinese varies. The Mandarin is the standard designated language on the Chinese mainland and Taiwan; while Cantonese is the prime dialect of Hong Kong.

Chinese is written in two forms by the Han people - the traditional Chinese characters and simplified Chinese characters. The latter is derived from the former and is now used by most Han people.

Ethnic HanReligion:

Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, are the main religions of the Han people. Many people also belong to various Christian denominations due to the influence of western culture.

Food Culture

The staple food of Han is rice and wheat. Rice is versatile and can be served in a variety of ways including porridge, rice cake, glutinous rice dumpling and rice noodles. Wheat is used in the production of steamed bread, noodles, steamed stuffed buns and wonton. Han people living in different regions of China have formed unique styles of cooking. The eight cuisines are the representative.

Tea and alcohol are the Chinese traditional drinks. The Han Chinese likes to entertain their honored guests with Chinese tea and alcoholic drinks.

House Style :

House styles and materials of the Han people vary in different regions of China. Those built in North China are mostly made of bricks in the courtyard style. The courtyard (Sihe Yuan) in Beijing is a representative. For houses in Northeast China, the style is almost the same as that in North China except for the walls. As Northeastern China is extremely cold, walls are built thicker and more solid than those of other places to retain warmth. However, in southern China, the Han people build their houses mainly of timber. The unique style of their buildings can be admired in the earthen buildings (tulou) in Fujian and pavilions in Suzhou.

All the houses of Han are suggested to be positioned in the north facing south to catch the maximum sunlight.

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