Last updated by chinatravel at 2016/9/21
Major festivals in Xinjiang are the grand Islamic Rouzi Festival (dinner for family reunion during which people will enjoy various meat to their heart content) and Gu’erbang Festival (similar to Rouzi Festival but in a larger scale).
Rouzi Festival, generally known as Kaizhai Festival, is held annually in September according to Chinese Hui nationality calendar. It is usually celebrated for three consecutive days after a month Zhaijie, during which the Muslim people only eat or drink before or after sunset rather than in daytime.
Gu’erbang Festival, known as Zaisheng Festival, is held annually on December 10th according to Chinese Hui nationality calendar, the 70th day after Rouzi Festival. It is said that Saint Allah once ordered Prophet Ibrahim to contribute his son as a sacrifice. When the loyal Prophet was prepared to sacrifice his son, Saint Allah informed him to kill a lamb instead. Later that day is celebrated as Zaisheng Festival, on which the Muslim people should take showers, put on new clothes and go to Muslim temples to pray. Besides, they will visit relatives and friends, treat guests with mutton, and hold various recreations activities to enjoy themselves.
In addition, tourists in Xinjiang may find or experience some local Buddhist festivals, such as Maide’er Festival, Tajike Nationality Lantern Festival and Sowing Festival, and Migrating-to-the-west Festival of Xibe nationality.
Ancient Silk Road
Silk Road is an ancient international road with historic importance, through which the great civilization of China, India, Bos, and Arab are connected with that of Greek and Rome, largely promoting the cultural exchange between the east and the west. Silk Road starts from the ancient capital city Chang’an (today’s Xi’an City) in the east and extends to the eastern bank of Mediterranean. With half of the Silk Road lying within its border, Xinjiang witness the integration of the eastern and western civilization and therefore a great contributor to many historical and cultural relics.
Along the winding Silk Road stand many well known passes, fortresses grottoes, tomb burials and beacon towers, etc. the most completely retained sites in Xinjiang are Gaochang in Turpan Basin and Jiaohe Ancient City. Besides, there are numerous Buddhist grottoes in Xinjiang. For instance, Kezi’er Thousand Buddha Cave, Kumutula Thousand Buddha Cave, Kezi’er Gaha Thousand Buddha Cave, and Senmusaimu Thousand Buddha Cave. On the ancient Silk Road the most attractive and romantic site is Loulan Ancient City. It is situated in the northwestern corner of Luobubo Region, the key section of Silk Road. It used be a prosperous commercial site while now an ancient relic endangered by migrating sand.
Xinjiang is endowed with rich natural tourist resources, huge area, unique landform and landscape.
The towering Pami’er Plain, Kunlun Mountains, Tianshan Mountains and Altay Mountains are covered with white snow; Tarim Basin and Junggar Basin enjoy huge and broad area; numerous hills and canons are characterized by diversified geographic environment. Ili Valley receives rich rainfall and boasts of green mountains and clear waters, like the fantastic landscape in South China. You’ersuos Bain is accompanied by a lot of lakes, around which the soil is fertile and grass are flourishing. Here in Xinjiang lies the world second largest desert—Takla Makan Desert which is well known as the “Sea of Death”. The world’s second highest peak —Qiaogeli Peak (86112 meters high) and the world’s second largest billabong (154 meters minus high) gives rise to a surprising fall of 8765 meters between them. World widely there are 14 peaks which are over 8000 meters above the sea level and four of them lie in Xinjiang where more than 20 peaks could be found standing over 7000 meters above the sea level. With towing peaks and mountains as well as broad and leveled basins, the landform in Xinjiang could be summarized as classic perpendicular landscape, boasting huge desert, mountain climbing and exploration conditions and other tourist resources of high scientific values. Besides, in Wu’erhe area tourists will find the “Ghost City” featuring grotesque landform, magnificence and exotic flavor.
In addition, tourists will enjoy, to their heart content, many other scenic spots like mirage in desert, supernatural Xiangsha (sand which can make a vivid voice when you spread them down to ground), Yadan (a unique landform) cluster of Luobubo Billabong, fossils of dinosaur and ancient trees (about 150 million years ago), as well as sunrise and sunset glow in desert.
It is helpful for tourists in Xinjiang to know about some local etiquette.
First shake hands with him/her and then say Salamu (meaning “May you good luck”) or Yaksimsas (meaning “Hello”).
Warmly treat friends or relatives who are rarely come to visit with delicious food and drinks.
Stand upright at the side of the road when meeting senior people and solute to them while saying Salimulikong (Best wishes to you).
Make sure that senior people are the first to speak, walk or taking a seat.
Singing and Dancing
Xinjiang is well-known as the “Village of Singing and Dancing”. Local ethnic minorities, such as Uygur, Hazak, Kirgiz, Tajik, Mongol, Xibe, Manchu, Uzbek, and Tatar, are good at singing and dancing. In Han dynasty of the second century, BC, Yudian dance and music were introduced to the mid-stream region of Yellow River, largely promoted the art of music and dancing there.
Uygur people are one of the ethnic groups boasting singing and dancing. Female dancing is characterized by elegance and daintiness, while dancing by males features vigor and heroic spirit. Maixilaipu Dance, with ardor and ease well displayed, is a popular and widely participated folk dance and therefore the most representative of Uygur nationality.
Hazak people also favor singing and dancing very much. A local proverbs goes like, “Song and horse are the two wings of Hazak nationality”. Local songs of Hazak people are leisurely and resounding. Accompanied by Dongbula (a popular local musical instrument), the unique flavor of huge grassland is highly enriched. Hazak dancing boasts of roughness and generosity which are expressed through the movements of shoulder and the footwork of Mabu (two feet in a posture like riding a horse).
Ardor, briskness and rapid rhythm that are combined in one bring reputation to Kirgiz folk songs, which is most distinctive for its Tiaojian (movements of shoulders in an up-down and flexible manner). Besides, another movement called Kouxuan can only be found in Hazak Folk dances.
The “-est” of China
Turpan is the hottest place of China.
The ‘Aiding Lake of Turpan is the lowest position of inland in China.
Tarim Basin is the largest inland basin of China.
Tarim River is the longest inland river of China.
Takla Makan is the largest desert of China.
Bosteng Lake in Ku’erle is the largest inland freshwater lake of China.
Kan’er Well is the longest underground irrigation system of China.
Swan Lake in Bayinbuluke is the single swan reserve in China,
A’erjin Mount is the largest nature reserve of China.
Religion and Belief
Xinjiang is a region with diversified religions, including Islam, Lamaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism, Orthodox Church, and Shamanism. Islam is very influential in social life. It is the common religious belief held by over ten ethnic nationalities, such as Uygur, Hazak, Kirgiz, Tatar, Salar, Dongxiang and Baoan. By now there are more than 23,000 religious rites including Lamaism and Catholic temples, meeting the needs of local religious believers.
Religious organizations in Xinjiang include Islam Association, Islamic Scripture College and Buddhist Association, etc.
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