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Ethnic Minority Costumes

There are fifty six ethnic groups in China and fifty five are ethnic minorities. Each of them has unique customs, a unique lifestyle, a unique language and all of them have distinct costumes.

Costumes vary from ethnicity to ethnicity and are in accordance with the geographical environment, manners and customs, economy and local culture of the ethnicity. Most ethnic minority costumes are colourful with many unique ethnic elements. People usually wear the costumes at festivals, weddings and other ceremonious occasions. Below are typical ethnic groups and their unique costumes.

Zhuang Ethnic Group Costumes
One of the fifty-five Chinese ethnic minorities, the Zhuang Ethnic Group has the largest population. The majority of the Zhuang group lives in Guangxi Province, so the typical costume features of the Zhuang group are that the clothes are usually short. Women of Zhuang group mainly wear a black and blue collarless jacket, pleated skirts with colourful edges or baggy trousers, with an delicately embroidered apron. Men often wear a black front-opening coat, wide-leg short trousers and sometimes a black head-kerchief.

Miao (Hmong) Ethnic Group Costumes
Costumes of the Miao group are famous for their colourfulness, variety of decoration and profound cultural influence. However, Miao costumes are differ depending on their region, with there being over 200 styles of Miao costume just in the southeast of Guizhou Province.

Generally, Miao costumes for women are short and include homespun jackets with the left sided pieces of the garment crossing and tying on the right side, or a collarless jacket with pieces of the garment crossing in the front, as well as various kinds of pleated skirts or trousers. Men also wear homespun jackets or long gowns with the right sided pieces of the garment crossing and tying on the left side, or a front opening jacket with cloth-wrapped buttons, as well as wide-leg trousers.

Miao people, especially women, are keen on silver adornments as they believe that silver can drive out evil spirits, therefore most of them wear silver hats and many other silver adornments on their body.

Bai Ethnic Group Costumes
The Bai ethnic group mainly lives in Dali, Yunnan. The Chinese character Bai means the colour "white" in English, which explains why Bai people prefer white clothes and decorations. Women of the Bai group usually wear white dresses, red sleeveless jackets and blue or black waistbands, which are all decorated with delicate embroidery. Men tend to wear white jackets, black-collared coats as well as dark loose trousers or shorts. Bai people's headwear and costumes symbolize the most typical sceneries of Dali; the wind (of Xiaguan), the flower (of Shangguan), the snow (on Cangshan Mountain top) and the moon (reflection in Erhai Lake).