Xinjiang Festivals & Events

  • Corban Festival 古尔邦节

Time: 10th day of the 12th month on Islamic calendar

Venue: Moslem communities

What’s on: Corban, also called “Animal Slaughtering Festival” is the most important holiday for people of the ethnic groups of Uygur, Kazakh, Hui, Kirgiz, Tajik, Uzbek and Tatar who believe in Islamism. On this day Moslems get up very early, take a bath, put on their best clothes and attend service in the mosque. After that they come home, slaughter sheep, and prepare a grand banquet to entertain relatives and friends. During the festival they visit each other, dance and sing, and attend various entertainment events.

  • Lesser Bairam 开斋节

Time: 9th month on Islamic calendar

Venue: Moslem communities

What’s on: Also called Festival of Fast-Breaking, the holiday is celebrated by Moslems of the ethnic groups of Uygur, Kazakh, Hui, Kirgiz, Tajik, Uzbek and Tatar. During the festival, adults eat food only before sunrise or after sunset. Everyone puts on their holiday best and extends greetings to each other. Men attend service in the mosque.

  • West-Bound Migration Day of the Xibe People 西迁节

Time: 18th day of the 4th month on lunar calendar (It falls between March and May)

Venue: Communities of Xibe people

What’s on: Also called “Four-Eighteen Festival”, it is a grand occasion for people of the Xibe ethnic group to commemorate their west-bound migration. On the day Xibe people sing and dance, demonstrate their archery skills and hold various amusement events in memory of their heroic deeds for defending the frontier of their motherland.

  • Xiaorbahar Festival 肖贡巴哈尔节

Time: Around March

Venue: Tajik communities

What’s on: It is a traditional holiday of the ethnic group of Tajik. In the Tajik language Xiaorbahar means “new spring” or “new day”. On this day people draw auspicious patterns on the walls in their houses and spread wheat flour on the ground as a way to pray for happiness in the new year. People extend holiday greetings to each other to strengthen their friendship.

  • Banjin Day of the Manchus 颁金节

Time: 13th day of the 10th month on the lunar calendar (It falls between September and November)

Venue: Manchu communities

What’s on: In the Manchu language, “Banjin” means “the day on which the Manchu people obtained the name of their ethnic group”. On this day Manchus dress up in their traditional clothes, gather together to dance their traditional dances, sing folk songs and attend various amusement programs. They prepare milk tea, various kinds of cakes and snacks to entertain guests. Manchu writers, calligraphers, painters and stage performers write poems and inscriptions, draw pictures and give performances to enliven the festival atmosphere.

  • “Ahken” Ballad Singing 9f43e6d0c73665b138012f73

Time: Summer

Venue: kazakh communities

What’s on: In the Kazakh language, “Ahken” means “folk song singer”. Ahken singers have a broad range of knowledge and a quick mind. They can improvise a song or a narrative ballad on the spot, and recite many folktales and long poems. In the summer when the grass is luxuriant, they select a clear day to hold an “Ahken” concert. They accompany their singing with a stringed instrument called “dongbra”. They sing in solos, in antiphonal style or in chorus. People dance, compete in horse races and join in various amusement events.

  • Horse-Milk Festival of the Kirgiz People 马奶节

Time: May 22nd

Venue: Kirgiz communities

What’s on: People of the Kirgiz ethnic group begin to milk the mare and drink horse milk on May 2nd every year. On this day an elder grasps the mane of a horse and prays for favorite weather, prosperity and a happier life for every family on the grassland. After the ceremony people begin to sing ballads, attend amusement programs such as horse race and the game of “Snatching Lamb”.

  • Nadam Fair 那达慕

Time: July 13th

Venue: Sayram Lake, Bayanbulak Grassland and Buksair Grassland

What’s on: In the Mongolian language, “Nadam” means “entertainment games”. The Nadam Fair is a grand occasion to celebrate bumper harvests of grain crops and thriving of livestock. Such a fair is held in summer and autumn when the weather is nice, grass is luxuriant and cattle and horses are fat. Horse race, wrestling games, archery contests and tug of war are held at the fair. There are also song and dance performances, ballad singing, various exhibitions and commercial activities at the fair.

  • Grape Festival in Turpan 葡萄节

Time: August 26th

Venue: Turpan

What’s on: The Grape Festival in Turpan makes Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Turpan better known in the world. This festival was initiated in memory of the Silk Road which was opened 2,100 years ago. Various programs related to tourism, commerce and culture are held during the festival.

Read more:

Brief Introduction to Xinjiang

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