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Baluoti Festival

Baluoti Festival is an important festival for the Tajik people in China's northwest region. The Tajik people believe in Islam, and as a result, many of their festivals, including their traditional Baluoti Festival, are related to Islam.

Baluoti Festival is also called lamp festival, which is celebrated in the first two days of the eighth month every year in Islamic calendar. Every family will light a specially made lamp at night during the festival, hence the name of lamp festival.

Before the festival, every family will make many small lamps and an extremely big one. The lamp uses the culm of a certain grass called Kawuri as the lampwick, and cotton to wrap around the lampwick. After being dipped into ghee or sheep fat, this torch-like lamp is ready for use. At festival night, the whole family sit in bed around a plate filled with sand. Then the householder will call every family member's name in the order of seniority and age, and they should reply respectively. The householder will place a burning lamp before each one who replies, which symbols good luck. When all the lamps are lighted, everyone will put his or her hands above his or her lamp for a while and then prays to Allah for blessings.

After the rite, the whole family enjoys a rich dinner in the lamplight. Finally, they light the big lamp and put it on the roof of their house, which they call heaven light. At this time, the whole family will get out and stand solemnly, watching the light and praying silently.

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