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
Liberation, they were collectively named the Achang nationality.
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 ling 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.