Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Corban Festival

Monday, 8th December was the Corban Festival for the Chinese Muslims in 2008. It is also called Zaishengjie (宰牲節), and Zhongxiaojie (忠孝節). One this day, they gather at the major mosques in the morning to have grand ceremonies. At Xining, it is the Dongguan Mosque (東關大寺).

The tens of thousands of people could not possibly fit into the mosque. So they overflew into the main street outside. Despite the great number of people, it was very orderly. Everybody seemed to know what to do. They arranged themselves in nest rows facing the west, and sat on their prayer rugs. It was an impressive sight. We could not get into the mosque; but we were able to stake out good observation posts and saw some fantastic views of the whole process. It was rather cold, about minus 5 Celsius, I believe.

In the afternoon each family slaughters a sheep, an oxen, or a camel, for those who can afford them. More about that later.

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