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Salty-water song: a new national intangible cultural heritage in Sanya

ehainan.gov.cn | Updated: 2021-06-16

Sanya's "salty-water song" has been added to the fifth batch of national intangible cultural heritage items, which was released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on June 10 in Beijing.

A new group of 325 items, in categories including folklore, traditional music, dance, opera, sports, arts, crafts, medicine, and diet, were added to the list. Hainan now has 32 pieces of national intangible cultural heritage.
Salty-water songs are sung by the Dan people, a Chinese clan of boat dwellers who have lived along China's coastline for a long time. Without a set pattern, it is an improvised song performed to reflect the Dan people's daily lives and emotions. Love songs and work songs, as well as ritual songs for marriage, funerals and sacrifice, are the main themes of saltwater songs.


Sanya's Dan people sing their "salty-water song" while fishing on the sea. [Photo/Sanya Daily]