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Ethnic Groups & Religions in Harbin

93 percent of Harbin's residents are the Han Chinese. Ethnic minorities include Manchu, Koreans, Hui, Mongolian, Xibe, Daur, Ewenke, Elunchun, Keerkezi, Hezhe.... Among them the first largest minority group is Manchu, contributing 70.26 percent to the minority population. The second and third largest minority groups were Koreans (119,883) and Hui nationalities (39,995). The Mongols, Xibe, Daur rank after them in order. Chinese ethnic minorities in Harbin area is characterized by large distribution and small concentration.            

Ethnic groups in Harbin, 2000 census
Ethnicity    Population          Percentage
Han            8,796,610         93.45%
Manchu         433,340           4.6%
Koreans        119,883           1.27%
Hui            39,995            0.43%
Mongols        13,163            0.14%
Xibe            4,741            0.05%
Daur            938              0.01%
Others          4,689            0.05%

Religions in Harbin
Religions are diversifiedly developed, a mix of eastern and western cultures creat a thoroughly mutual resepect and understanding, open minded cultural atmosphere in Harbin.

Traditional Chinese Buddhism and Taoism prevails in Harbin for a long history. The Temple of Bliss (Ji Le Si) and other over 20 open temples in the city trace Harbin Buddhism activities back to the Reign of Jin Dynasty Emperor Xizhong (1135-1150). Quanzhen School of Taoism in Harbin was founded by the Taoist Wang Chongyang 800 years ago in Northern China. The earliest Taoist Temple is Haiyun Taoist Temple on the Songfeng Mountain in Acheng.   

Historically, Islam was spreaded into Harbin during the reign of the Qing Emperor Qianlong. Most of the Hui People are musilims who usually go on activities in the Mosque in Daowai District.

Christianity, Catholicism and Orthodox came to Harbin since Russians, Jews and more westerners arrived via Chinese Far East Railway between the late 19th and the early 20th Century.

The Manchu People
Population: 433,340  
Living Areas: living in the north of the Changbai Mountain, in the middle and down reaches of Heilongjiang River and Wusuli River system.
Language:  The Manchu language belongs to the Manchu-Tungusic branch of the Altaic language family.
History:  The Manchus are descended from the Jurchen people who earlier established the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234) in China. Under the Mongols' control, the Jurchens were mainly divided into two groups and treated differently: the ones who were born and raised in North China and fluent in Chinese were considered to be Chinese (Han); but the people who were born and raised in the Jurchen homeland (Manchuria) without Chinese-speaking abilities were treated as Mongols politically.

Manchu reign of China
A century after the chaos started in Jurchen's land, Nurhaci, a chieftain of Jianzhou Left Guard, started his ambition as a revenge of Ming's manslaughter of his grandfather and father in 1583.[44] He reunified Jurchen tribes, established a military system called "Eight Banners" to organized Jurchen soldiers as "Bannermen" and ordered his scholar Erdeni and minister Gagai to create a new Jurchen script (later known as Manchu script) by referencing traditional Mongolian alphabet.

In 1603, Nurhaci was recognized as Sure Kundulen Khan by his Khalkha Mongol allies. 13 years later (1616), he publically throned and proclaimed himself Genggiyen Khan. In 1635, his son and successor Hong Taiji changed the ethnic group Jurchen to Manchu. A year later, Hong Taiji proclaimed himself the emperor of Qing Dynasty.

Diet:  Their traditional staple is wheat, although other grains are also used. Daily foods include rice-flour cakes, dumplings with various fillings, baked bread, steamed buns stuffed with mashed red beans, candied rice pastries and deep-fried dough bars.
Culture:  The pantheist Manchus used to venerate crows, swans and dogs, and eating or using anything from dogs is still a taboo.
Holidays:  The Manchus customarily celebrate Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival as the Hans do, but the Banjin Festival, which falls on the 13th day of the 10th lunar month, is a specifically Manchu tradition. Banjin in the Manchu language means "birth" or "thriving."  It marks the day when the ethnic group renamed themselves "Manchu" in 1635.
Religion:  The Manchus used to be Shamanists.
Costume:  By tradition, Manchu men and women wear long robes. There are lined, unlined, cotton-padded and fur robes for each season. Nowadays, Manchu style robes with slit skirts for women and long gowns for men are still fashionable.
Marriage:  Monogamy is the law among the Manchus. Marrying customs are meticulous, from engagement and taking the bride to the bridegroom's home to drinking from the wedding cup at the wedding ceremony. On the 7th day of a wedding, the groom accompanies the bride back to her mother's home for a brief visit. The bride stays in her parental home for thirty days after the wedding, which ends only when all these stages have been completed.
Residence:  The Manchus traditionally live in three- or five-room houses built with wooden-frames and adobe. They tend to build their homes facing south.


The Koreans
Population: 119,883
Living Area: The Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in eastern Jilin Province and Another community of Koreans lives in the Changbai Korean Autonomous County in southeastern Jilin.   

Language: The Koreans have their own spoken and written language, which is thought to belong to the Altaic family. Their alphabet is a simple, ingenious one, and the Koreans are very proud of it.

History: The ancestors of the Korean ethnic group migrated from the Korean peninsula from about the late 17th century, mostly peasants fleeing from oppressive feudal landlords. Especially following a severe famine in the northern part of Korea in 1869, they settled down in large numbers in what is now the Yanbian area. Another wave of migration took place in the early years of this century when Japan annexed Korea and drove many peasants off the land. The Japanese seizure of the Manchurian provinces further served to drive landless Koreans to settle in Northeast China.

The traditional Korean dress is white, a symbol of simplicity and serenity. Men wear baggy trousers fastened at the ankles and a jacket which fastens on the right; sometimes they wear a high-crowned black horsehair hat. Women wear voluminous skirts and a tight jacket which reaches just below the armpits.

Their cuisine is very spicy and includes kimchi (pickled vegetables), cold noodles, sticky rice cakes and dog meat. Yanbian is fairly evenly populated, with villages set a few miles apart from each other and ranging in size from about a dozen households to several scores. The houses are built of wood with low-eaved tile or thatched roofs. They are heated by flues running under a raised platform in the main rooms, which serves as a bed and also a place to sit on. Shoes are removed before entering the house.

The Koreans are very fond of music. They sometimes sing and dance to the accompaniment of drums and flutes in the fields or on construction sites.

Traditional festivals are celebrated heartily, especially the Lunar New Year, and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Other occasions for merriment are the 100th day after a baby's birth and a person's 60th birthday.

In the old days, men labored in the fields while women worked around the house. The eldest son became the head of the family upon the death or incapacitation of the father. Monogamy was practiced but early marriage and adoption of child brides and boys to carry on the family tree were common.