The population of the Achang nationality
is only 29,000. They live in compact communities in
Jiubao, Xiangsong of Lianghe County; Husa of Longchuan
County in Dehong Prefecture. A small number of them
are distributed in Luxi, Yingjiang, tengchong and
Linglin counties. The Achang nationality developed
from the ancient "Xanchuan" tribe. They
were called "E-chang" and "A-chang"
before the Yuan and Ming dynasties. Those living in
Husa called themselves "Mengsa", "Mengsashan"
or "chensa", while those in Lianghe County
addressed themselves as "Hansan" and"Achang".
After 1949, they were collectively named the Achang
The Achang people have their own language
which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Branch of the Sino-Tibetan
Language Family (Achang Branch). Many Achang people
speak Mandarin and the Dai language. Some speak the
Jingpo language and Burmese. They use Han and Dai
The Achang people believe in supernatural
beings and worship their ancestors. They also believe
in Hinayana Buddhism. Their major festival is the
Water Splashing Festival, But they also celebrate
the Huijie festival in mid-September in the lunar
calendar. On this occasion, besides trading, they
perform with blue dragons and white elephants made
of bamboo and paper, as well as the elephant-leg-shaped
musical instrument. But the grandest of all is the
Wo Luo Festival which falls on January 4th on the
lunar calendar. They dance and sing far into the night.
The Achang people are good at
singing folk sings. There is a saying that when three
Achang people sing, the whole mountain will be filled
with their songs. The Achang girls often coil their
hair up. They wear coats with buttons down the front
and long trousers. The married women wear pleated
skirts. The men wear turbans, black white or blue
coats, and black trousers. They take their bags and
long swords with them wherever they go.