The Han Ethnic Group is the largest among the 56 ethnic groups in China, making up 92 percent of the total population.
The Han people are found in all parts of the country, but mainly in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River (Huanghe), the Yangtze River(Changjiang), and the Pearl River(Zhujiang) as well as the Songliao Plains.
The Han Ethnic Group has its own spoken and written language, known as the Chinese language, which belongs to the Chinese-Tibetan language family. It is commonly used nowadays throughout China and is the working language of the United Nations. The Chinese language has a history of four thousand years, originating from pictograph. Traditionally, agriculture was the Hans' main occupation. Agriculture provided the nation's basic wealth and was highly advanced, especially in irrigation and intensive farming. There was also a high level of handicraft production, such as bronze, silk, porcelain, architecture, and painting. The Han culture belongs to the world's oldest civilizations, boasting a lot of outstanding achievements in many fields including politics, military affairs, philosophy, literature, history, art and natural science, etc. The rich Han culture has given birth to many notable scientists, philosophers, artists and poets who, as the nation's elite, have had great influence on the course of Chinese history. China's four great inventions -- compass, papermaking, printing and gunpowder -- have exerted great influence on the history of human development.
In Han culture, Confucianism, the oldest form of Chinese religion whose concepts and teachings have dominated the Chinese ruling class as well as intellectuals for the last two thousand years, is a philosophy rather than a religion. Ancestor worship is widely practiced across the entire country; although it has been simplified in modern time, it never fades away from the Chinese community. Buddhism is the most popular form of Chinese religion. Since its introduction in 400AD, Buddhism has slipped into and occupies every aspect of the Chinese lifestyle. Daoism, named national religion, originated in the Han Dynasty, but is not widely accepted. Besides, there is an increasing number of Chinese who practices Roman Catholicism, Christianism and Islamism.
The appellation of "Han" originated from the Han Dynasty during the 2ndand 3rdcenturies, the first prosperous dynasty of Chinese history after Qin unifying China. And it continues to be the majority population in China, merged with many different tribal clans like the Yi, Qian, Di and Man. Before that, the people were called "Huaxia".
The earliest Han people can be traced to the Hua Xia tribe, who originally settled in the middle area of theYellow River (Huanghe). The legendary leader of the Hua Xia tribe was Huang Di (Emperor Yellow). The Chinese refer to themselves as the descendants of Huang Di, and describe the Yellow River as the cradle of their civilization development.