The population of the Bai nationality
is about 1.39million. They live in compact communities
mainly in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture. Others are
scattered in Kunming, Yuanjiang, Lijiang and Lanping.
The Bai nationality has along history. Their ancestors
were called "Dianbo", "Sou"in
the Qing Dynasty.
The Bai People hold the white color
in high esteem and call themselves "Baizi",
"Baini" or "Baihuo", which means
white people. In 1956, of their own will they were
named the Bai Nationality.
Since ancient times, the Bai people
have established a close relationship with the Han
and the Yi in the interior or the neighboring regions.
After the Nanzhao Kingdom, especially during the Dali
Kingdom, all the Bais in different areas became a
nationality with similar languages, cultures and economic
structures. Now they have their own spoken language
that belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Stock of the Sino-Tibetan
Language Family. Many Bai people are good at the Han
language. They use the Han characters as their writing
system. Besides Buddhism and Taoism , the worship
of Patron God is most popular. The Patron God Temple
can be found in almost every village. Patron God is
the Guardian of a village or a region.
The Bai people's houses are unique.
The typical style is "sanfgangyizhaobi"
and "sihewutianjing." "Sanfangyizhaobi"
refers to three houses on three sides and a decorative
screen wall to reflect sunlight to the house. "
Sihewutianjing" is a house with a major courtyard
and tour small ones at the four corners of the major
one .The Bai people's houses are generally decorated
with wooden carvings, stone carvings and marble, which
add luster to the traditional characteristics of the
The Bai people regard white as an honorable
color and like to wear white clothes. Men often wear
white coats with black vests. Women like to wear white
or blue jackets with black or blue vests. Unmarried
women like to have a pigtail, or wear beautiful headdresses
that show the four famous scenes in Dali, namely the
flowers in Shangguan, the wind in Xiaguan, the snow
on the top of the Cangshan Mountain and the moon reflected
in the Elrhai Lake. The married women coil their hair
and wrap it with black or embroidered cloth.
The major festivals of the Bai
People are the Raosanlin, the Torch Festival, the
Patron God Festival and the Shibaoshan Mountain Song
Festival. The most important of all is the Third Month
Fair in Dali. It falls on March 15th on the lunar
calendar and lasts 7 days.