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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Time: August 26th
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.