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15 July 2015

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Hui Ethnic Minority

With a sizable population of 97.37 thousand, the Hui ethnic minority is Hunan's most widely distributed ethnic minority. People of Hui origin can be found in most of the cities throughout the province, especially in Taoyuan, Hansou, Dingcheng, Lixian of Changde City, Longhui, Shaodong, Shaoyang county of Shaoyang city, Longshan, Fengfang, Yongshun of west Hunan.

The Hui people took Chinese as their common language. During their long history, the Hui people, aided by the Han people, accumulated great wealth. Their development and progress was, however, facilitated by adopting the Han language and living with the Hans. Some of the Hui people are good at Arabic and Farsi.

Living Quarters



The clothes of the Hui are influenced by their religion: men wear white caps and women veils. Women's veils differ from place to place. Besides covering the hair, some veils cover the mouth and nose, only exposing a pair of eyes; some expose the eyes and noses; but most only cover the hair and neck. The colour of the veil reflects the owner's status: unmarried young women wear pink or other veils; middle-aged women wear black ones, and those over 60 wear white veils. Men, except for clerks and elders who wear yellow or white silk caps, mostly wear white brimless cloth caps.




The Hui people are mainly involved in agriculture; they also keep livestock, produce and trade handicrafts and food as well. Traditional items of trade are jewelry, jade and bullion.


The Islamic religion had a deep influence on the lifestyle of the Hui people. The mosque is also a symbol of Hui architecture. According to the Hui's dietary rules, the meat of pig, dog, horse, donkey, mule as well as all birds and beasts of prey is not allowed. They are also prohibited from eating the blood of any animal, and from eating any living animal that dies naturally. Alcoholic drink is strictly forbidden. These taboos originated in the Koran, the holy book of the Moslems.

The Hui pay great attention to personal  Hygiene.  They pray five times a day and each time they wash themselves before praying. Ablution can be "major" or "minor". The former means washing the whole body, and the latter means washing the face, feet and hands, to get rid of sins and repent before Allah. They use a specially made aluminum kettle for washing.

Folk Culture and Art

The Hui people had some well-known thinkers, politicians, poets, scholars, artists and dramatists. They have made tremendous contributions to the cultural development of the Chinese nation. Muslim arts and crafts include carving, weaving, embroidery etc., of which stone carving of the Shaoyang Hui has a long history.


The main festivals of the Hui ethnic minority are the Kaizhai Festival, Corban Festival and Almsgiving Festival.


In the areas where the Hui live a typical site is the mosque. Every mosque has a minaret. After Islam was introduced into China, mosques partly absorbed traditional Chinese architectural style, forming a three-in-one palace consisting of lobby, prayer hall and bathhouse. Some have retained Arabic domes, with a crescent moon on the top of the roof.

Chinese source: