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Culture of Jilin Province

.Jilin is inhabited by Han Chinese, Manchus, Hui, Mongols and Xibe. Most ethnic Koreans live in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Jilin has rich and colorful  folk customs and culture.

Song-and-dance duet in Northeast China.jpgThe song-and-dance duet in Northeast China

Also called Errenzhuan in Chinese, it is one of the folk art forms born and developed in that region. It mainly reflects the essence of folk songs, folk dances and spoken literature in Northeast China, and is quite popular among urban and suburban people.

The song-and-dance duet is played by a male and a female, singing and dancing at the same time. The popular programs include Fowling, Selling Thread, Reward for Detective Dee's Deeds, Ancient City, Blue Bridge Tryst, Romance of the West Chamber, At Ba Bridge, Shuangsuo Mountain, Huarong Pass, Palace, Baohao, Pandao, Chanyu Temple, Spring Trip of Miss Yang the Eighth, and so on.

Yangko in Northeast China 

Yangko in Noetheast China.jpg
Yangko is one of the folk recreational activities in Northeast China originating from productive labor. Folk dances in Northeast China exist in various forms, including Yangko, dragon lantern dance, land boat dance, catching butterfly dance, wrestling, playing fancy sticks and walking on stilts. Most of the time, all the dances are performed together and are generally called Yangko.

Yangko is the artistic fortune created and accumulated by laboring people in North China. It originates from the labor of rice transplanting and plowing. At the same time, it is also related to the songs people sang to pray to the agricultural gods for harvest or the elimination of disasters in ancient times. Absorbing the skills and arts of agricultural songs, water chestnut collecting songs, folk martial arts, acrobatics and operas during its development, it has evolved into a kind of folk song dance today.

Jilin Three Lantern2.jpgLanterns in Jilin Province

Ice Lantern, River Lantern and Colored Lantern are the most famous three lanterns in Jilin Province, Northeast China.

Ice lantern: As the birthplace of the ice lantern, Jilin province has gradually integrated the manufacture of ice lanterns with carving, shaping and architecture, and developed it into an appreciating art, making it one of the most impressive features decorating Jilin in winter. Now, it has spread to Harbin, and even further to Beijing.

River lantern: The custom of lighting river lanterns in Jilin started in the early Qing Dynasty. River lanterns are made of red paper in the shape of a lotus flower, with wax immersed in the bottom and candles as the wick. They are lit at the time of every major festival and celebration, especially the Lantern Festival. At that time, hundreds of thousands of lotus-flower shaped lanterns are everywhere to be seen on the surface of the Songhua River. Reflecting the clear water and glimmering stars, these lanterns decorate the Songhua River like the Milky Way fallen from the sky.

Colored lantern: Jilin has an age-old custom of hanging colored lanterns during Lantern Festivals. Since the holding of Jilin (China) Rime, Ice and Snow Festival, the lantern exhibition has become increasingly grand and colorful. With power-driven, light-dependent controls and remote control techniques integrated with traditional folk arts, lanterns of various types and shapes have been exhibited, with the biggest show using over 4,000 lanterns.

SleeSleeping on heated brick beds.jpgping on heated brick beds in Northeast China

In cold winter, people in Northeast China have a habit of sleeping on heated brick beds, which are usually made of sun-dried mud bricks or house bricks with kraft paper spread on top. After being painted, they are clean, simple and nice to use.

Actually, it is scientifically proven to be good to sleep on heated brick beds. Usually, these beds are built in the inner rooms while cooking ranges are on the outside of the houses. When cooking, the heat exhausts given out by the fire go through the flues under the bed and then come out through chimneys. Cooking thrice a day heats the beds three times and the heat from cooking is, therefore, enough to keep the beds warm and comfortable for a whole day.

Folk residences not only serve as buildings to live in, but also reflect different customs and tell different life stories. Savoring the art of folk residences is experiencing diversified Chinese ethnic cultures and the history of people's lives.

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