The She ethnic group, with a population of 709,592, mainly lives in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, and some are scattered throughout Jiangxi, Guangdong and Anhui provinces. They live in small groups and are widely distributed.
Early in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), people of She nationality began to settle in the joint area of Fujian, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces. They used to call themselves Shanda which means migrated guest living in a mountain area.
She people mostly engage in agriculture, and rice, sweet potatoes, wheat, rape, beans and tobacco are their main products. They also grow tea, sugar cane, and ramie. They are good at making wine, and wine is their favorite drink. Timber and bamboo are important commercial commodities for the She.
The She ethnic group believes in ghosts and gods, and worships their ancestors. Dancing is an indispensable part of many ceremonies of the She people, especially on the religious ceremonies dancing is a way to pray for the dead, repel the evil souls and show respect to the ancestors.
They have their own language which belongs to the Miao branch of Miao-Yao family of the Han-Zang Phylum, but only few She people use their own language. Most, up to 90% She people speak Chinese which is very close to the language of the Hakkas. Without their own set of characters, Han characters are widely used.
She people take rice and potato as their staple food. Dog meat is forbidden.
Costumes and Customs
Due to a long period of cultural and economic exchange, many customs of the She people have become almost the same with that of the Han ethnic group. Women's clothing has distinct ethnic group characteristics though. They like to wear black short shirts decorated with lace on their collars, cuffs and garment fronts. Jewelry such as earrings, bracelets and others are favored by women. Men and children wear almost the same kind of clothes as Han people do.
She people often express themselves via songs, and singing has become a way of communication. They participate in poet game and song game festivals.
The 3rd day of the third month in Chinese traditional calendar is the traditional festival of She ethnic group. On that day, the people will make a kind of black rice to memorialize their heroes Lei Wanxing, who once led the She into military victory by breaking a siege against the royal army.