In ancient China, Hainan Island was a savage land, and few people lived there. The government officials who did something wrong or displeased the emperor would be relegated to this island. It should be a thing of sadness to be relegated to this savage island, but when the unlucky officials went there, they came to realize that it was actually a blessing to settle there. For example, the most famous poet in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Su Dongpo, was once relegated there, and this enchanting island really cast a spell over him. He left a lot of poems there, which highly praise the beauty of Hainan Island. He believed that it would be a happy thing to rest there after death, because the scenery there was the best he had ever seen.
Hainan has a total area of 33,900 square kilometers. Its length, from northeast to southeast, is about 290 kilometers and its width, from northwest to southeast, is about 180 kilometers. It is also the largest province in terms of marine jurisdiction (about two million square kilometers), covering three main island groups: the Xisha Islands, the Nansha Islands, and the Zhongsha Islands.
Hainan Province has a population of over 7 million, among which Han nationality is the overwhelming majority, while the rest are from 37 ethnic minorities. The Li and Miao ethnic groups comprise a large proportion of the minority population. The rich traditional cultures of the ethnic minorities have been well preserved there, which diversify the culture of Hainan Province.
Belonging to the northern part of the tropics and virtually at the same latitude as Hawaii, it has a tropical monsoon climate and is known as the 'Eastern Hawaii'. Its average annual temperature is 23-25°C while the average temperature of the coldest February ranges between 16-20°C and the hottest August between 35-39°C. When northern China is snowy and icebound, local people are able to swim in the sea and enjoy the warm sunshine on the beach. In addition, the island has beautiful soft beaches and tropical scenery such as Holiday Beach, Dongzhai Harbor Mangrove Natural Reserve Area, Dongjiao Coconut Plantation, Asian Dragon Bay and Wuzhizhou Island. All these help to make the island a holiday hot spot in China, especially in winters and for newly-married couples. A special mention must be made here of the fact that since 2008, the government has been making a great effort to develop this tropical island province into an international tourism destination. On December 30, 2010, the first high-speed rail of the area, Hainan Eastern Ring Rail was put into service. Now people can travel easily between the northern point of the island (Haikou) and its southern point (Sanya) in just 1.5 hours. Another effort made by the government is the Tax refund policy carried out since January 1, 2011.
People in Hainan
The total population is 9.1713 million (as at the end of 2016). Northern and coastal parts of the island. According to a census in 2010, the Han people Hainan has long been inhabited by the Han, Li, Miao and Hui peoples, among whom the Li people are the earliest settlers. Most of the Li, Miao and Hui peoples live in the central and southern parts of the island, including Qiongzhong, Baoting, Baisha, Lingshui, Changjiang, Sanya and Wuzhishan. The Han people are mainly concentrated in northeastern, northern and coastal parts of the island. According to a census in 2010, the Han people Hainan has long been inhabited by the Han, Li, Miao and Hui peoples, among whom the Li people are the earliest settlers. Most of the Li, Miao and Hui peoples live in the central and southern parts of the island, including Qiongzhong, Baoting, Baisha, Lingshui, Changjiang, Sanya and Wuzhishan. The Han people are mainly concentrated in northeastern, northern and coastal parts of the island.
Hainan is one of the most famous homelands of overseas Chinese. About 3 million Hainanese live overseas, many of them in Hong Kong and Macao. Hainan is also the home of over 1 million Chinese who returned from abroad. For decades, these people have contributed to the development of all walks of life in Hainan. The Eighth Congress of the World Federation of Hainanese Associations, a body set up for discussing the future of Hainanese in the world, was held in Hainan in March 2004. Hainan is also the host of the annual World Hainan Youth Summer (Winter) Camp of Culture, Science and Technology. Through its various activities, overseas Hainanese youths are able to experience their homeland culture.
Fastivals in Hainan
This island is also called 'Coconut Island' for its production of coconuts. Each year in late March or early April, the islanders hold a 'Coconut Festival'. During the festival, visitors can go to Haikou to appreciate the coconut lanterns, travel to Wenchang to taste the delicious coconuts, head for Sanya to watch the dragon boat race and a folk martial art competition, approach Tongshi to attend the Sanyuesan carnival. Sanyuesan is a traditional festival celebrated on every March, 3rd of Chinese lunar calendar by the local Li people. On that day, the Li worship their ancestors and pray for a good harvest. It is also a 'love festival' for the young people to seek love. Visitors may also watch the traditional Li wedding ceremonies on that day.
Typical Local Hainan Food
In addition to coconuts, the island is rich in some other tropical fruits like bananas, lychees, papayas and pineapples as well as seafood, which are all musts to enjoy when traveling there. What's more, the island has some featured local delicacies. The most famous four local specialties are Hele Crab, Dongshan Mutton, Jiaji Duck and Wenchang Chicken. Some other most famous dishes include Hainanese Chicken Rice, hotpot, pumpkin rice of Li and Qiongshan tofu, etc.