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Corban Festival

The Corban Festival, an annual major traditional Islamic festival, falls on the tenth of the twelfth Muslims knock the iron casing drum to celebrate the holiday. It is called Eid-al-Adjha in Arabic. Eid means festival and Adjha, sacrifice. Therefore this day is also called Corban. During the festival, people will take part in community worship to pilgrimage to Allah, and also, slay livestock and offer sacrifice to Allah, to whom they are desired to get closer.

Corban Festival is celebrated by Chinese minority nationalities that believe in Islam, including Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Ozbek, Tajik, Tartar, Kirgiz, Salar, Dongxiang and Bonan. People get together and share mutton, cakes, melons and fruits with others. In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Muslims are given three days as holidays to celebrate the Corban Festival. In Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, all the governmental staff and employees, no matter they are Muslims or not, are given one day leave on Corban. Islamic associations across China also organize gatherings during the Corban Festival.

Before the festival, every family is busy in cleaning house, making festival pastry, and preparing for livestock to be slaughtered. Breed of livestock varies with the financial conditions of every family, with sheep, cattle, camel and chicken as the common choice.

In the morning of the festival, people will take a bath, dress up and go to mosque for community worship, which is the largest gathering in the mosques throughout a year. On this specific day, everyone should fast for half a day until the end of the worship. After that, they will go back home and slay livestock. Livestock meat is usually divided into three portions: one for the family members, one for relatives and the rest for the poor. Then it is time for extending festival greetings, first to villagers having suffered family disasters such as funeral recently, then to the elderly, and finally to relatives and friends. According to the custom of Uyghur ethnic group, greetings to the elderly of husband's and wife' s families should be extended by the couple together, while those to others can be extended separately.

There's a story about the legend of Corban Festival. According to Islamic legend, once in a year, Muslims slaughtered a certain number of cattle and donated them to other people so as to show their sincere faith in Allah. Ibrahim, an prophet, once promised in public that he would slaughter his son as a sacrifice if Allah asked him to do so. In a dream, Ibrahim got Allah's divine message for him to practice his promise by slaughtering his son as a sacrifice. The dream repeated several times and finally, Ibrahim painfully made up his mind. On the next day, the tenth day of the final month according to the Islamic calendar, a tearful Ibrahim took his son to a hilltop. When he was about to carry out the order, a messenger sent by Allah descended with a sheep, and asked Ibrahim to sacrifice the sheep instead of his own son. Since then the Muslims have been marking the day by slaughtering sheep. This gradually evolved into the Corban festival, one of the most important Islamic festivals.

People care for and share happiness with one another during Corban Festival, which can enhance the interpersonal affections and promote harmony among the ethnic minorities jointly celebrating the festival.

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