With a sizeable population of 9.8 million, Hui ethnic group is one of China's largest and most widely distributed ethnic minorities. They mainly live in concentrated community in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwestern China. Besides, many Hui people either live in compact community or scatter in other parts of China. The Hui people took Chinese as their common language. Some Hui people master Arabian and Persian. Its origin can be trace back to the middle of the 7th century, when Islamic Arabs and Persians came to China to trade and later some became permanent residents. The Islamic religion had a deep influence on the life style of the Hui people. The mosque is also a symbol of Hui architecture.
The majority of Huis believe in Islamism, which has a deep influence on their lifestyle. According to the Hui's dietary rules, the meat of pig, dog, horse, donkey, mule as well as all birds and beasts of prey is not allowed. They are also prohibited from eating the blood of any animal, and from eating any living that dies naturally. Alcoholic drink is strictly forbidden. These taboos originated in the Koran of the Moslems. The Huis are very particular about sanitation and hygiene. Likewise, before attending religious services, they have to observe either a "minor cleaning," i.e. washing their face, mouth, nose, hands and feet, or a "major cleaning", which requires a thorough bath of the whole body.
Modern Hui people's costumes are almost the same with that of Han people, the main difference lies in their head-gear. Hui men can usually be found wearing a round brimless white cap and white short gown with a black waistcoat is also typical apparel. Meanwhile, Hui women wear a range of head-coverings, which differ from region to region. Moreover, the color of the veil traditionally reflects a woman's social seniority. Thus, young women wear green, middle-aged women black and old women white.
Hui people observe many festivals as Han people. The main festivals of the Hui ethnic tradition are the Kaizhai Festival and Corban Festival.
On the Hui calendar, the entire month of September is when Hui people fast, meaning they don’t eat anything from sunrise till sunset. Then the first day of October marks the traditional Kaizhai Festival, which lasts three days. Hui people do house cleaning after bathing, and go prey in the mosques. Then mutton, beef and other traditional festival food are served to relatives and friends.
Corban Festival falls on the tenth day of December on the Hui calendar. People don't have breakfast in the morning, and then they attend the mosque. After that, livestock like ox and sheep are killed, along with fruits, cakes and other delicious food to present to and share with friends and relatives.
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