25. Chinese Nationalities Va Minority (Wa) -- Minorities by Descending Populations

Va Lady Va Ladyg Va Ladies
Va Lady Va Lady Va Ladies

The Va people live mainly in compact communities in the Ximeng, Cangyuan, Menglian, Gengma, Lancang, Shuangjiang, Zhenkang and Yongde counties in southwestern Yunnan Province. There, they coexist with other ethnic groups such as the Han, Yi, Dai, Hani, Lahu, Jingpo, Blang, De'ang and Lisu.

The Va people have a unique spoken language, which belongs to the Austroasiatic family. They previously had no written language, but an minbetic script was created for the Va people in 1957. Prior to then, the Wa people kept records and accounts or passed messages to each other by using material objects or by engraving bamboo strips.

The Va people call themselves "Wa", "Lei Wa", "Ba Rao", "Bu Rao", etc. According to historical records, the Va people are the descendants of the "Baipu" people who lived before the Qin period (221 BC- 26 BC). During the Qing Dynasty they were called "Ha Wa", "Ka Wa", etc and with the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), they were formally named the "Wa" by the government after unanimous approval from the people.

The Va people live in bamboo houses that are similar in shape to those of the Dai people. The Wa people are hospital and warm to their guests. When guests enter their house they will be entertained with wine in bamboo cups as a token of welcome and respect. The Va speak a Mon-Khmer south Asian language. Most are nature worshippers, but some are Hinayana Buddhists or Christians.


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