Uyghurs And Nowruz

Mihray Abdilim Abral

Uyghur is one of the ancient nationalities of China. They established Orkhon
According to folk beliefs, on Water Week, water renewed and still water came to
stir; the Flame Week was believed to be th...
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Uyghurs And Nowruz


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Uyghurs And Nowruz

  1. 1. Uyghurs And Nowruz Mihray Abdilim Abral Uyghur is one of the ancient nationalities of China. They established Orkhon Uyghur Khanate in seventh century CE. By the end of the ninth century CE, Uyghurs established the Huigu-Edikut Khanate and the Karakhanid Khanate. To the honor of Uyghur people, outstanding statesmen, strategists, astronomers, historians, translators and other distinguished scholars emerged in Uyghur history. In the thirteenth century and the years after many such eminent persons held high official positions in Yuan Dynasty. Uyghurs began to accept Islam in the tenth century, and by the end of sixteenth century, Islam became a common religion of Uyghurs. According to the 2001 census, Uyghurs account for 8,605,575, or 45.87%, of the total population of Xinjiang. Nearly 80% of them live in Southern Xinjiang. The language belongs to the Altaic language family. Uyghurs in Xinjiang use Arabic script. Uyghurs is a nationality of unique natural and spiritual civilization. They are honest, openhearted, friendly, outgoing, hospitable people. Humor, song and dance are the important features of their social life. The “Twelve Mukams” is the typical classic musical collection of a long history and high honor. Uyghur dance is well known for its lively, joyful and glorious form. Mashrap, as a form of get- together, is the common event of Uyghurs. High-wire-walking, horse racing, sheep snatching, wrestling, etc., are also the common forms of sport in the towns and villages. Uyghurs celebrate Nawruz, Kurban Heyt, and Roza Heyt. During such holidays, the tables in every family are topped with typical Uyghur snacks, such as sangza and other sweets and fruits. Nawruz (or Noruz Bayrimi in Uyghur) is one of the major and the most favorite holidays of the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in Central Asia. Although it is celebrated in Islamic countries, Nawruz is not a religious holiday. It is an actually a celebration of the symbolic renewal of nature. According to Turkic scholars, it originated in Ancient Mesopotamia. In Babylon, New Year was celebrated starting from the 21st day of March and lasted for 12 days. According to historians, Nawruz is certain to have been celebrated in pre-Islamic times and after words. Nawruz is associated with spring start of agricultural activities, renewal of nature and warm days. This period being of great importance it caused many traditions and rites associated with magic, the cult of nature and earth and belief in the perishing and reviving nature. Celebrations began four weeks before the actual day of festivity. These four weeks were each devoted on of the four elements. They were: Su Heptisi (Water Week), Ot Heptisi (Flame Week), Tuprakh Heptisi (Earth Week), Ahiri Heptisi (Last Week).
  2. 2. According to folk beliefs, on Water Week, water renewed and still water came to stir; the Flame Week was believed to be the time of fire’s rebirth; on Earth Week, the earth revived; and, on the Last Week, the wind opened tree buds and spring arrived. Now, due to the busy schedule and other reasons, the festival has become must shorter, ranging from one day to two weeks. The most important week was the Last Wednesday before the vernal equinox and most of important rites and ceremonies were delivered that day which concerned all the aspects of human life Those rites were intended to provide welfare for an individual, his family and the community in general to get rid of the old year is troubles and to avert calamity. According to Uyghur tradition, on the day of Nawruz, all people in the town, including young and old, congregate in the town in a beautiful place, such as a park, to celebrate the festival. They wear beautiful traditional dresses and customs and sing songs and play games to entertain the crown. The poets and writers will dictate their poems and folklores for glorifying Nawruz. Storytellers will entertain the crowd by telling jokes and short stories. Musician and singers will show their talent by playing music and dancing. There will be games such as “Oghlakh Tartish” (Catch the Goat), “Bayge” (Horse racing), and on some occasions “Dawaz” (a unique Uyghur rope-walking game) to perform and attract hundreds of people. Young girls sit on the ground and play games; others sit around musicians to enjoy the beautiful Uyghur Twelve Mukhams. In short, everyone will give his or her own best performance to entertain the crowd. In order to prepare for Nawruz, villagers select a number of individuals a few months before the festival. The group of people will be responsible for collection dues from villagers. Special kind of food named Nawruz food will be cooked, which has to contain wheat, rice, grain, meat, milk, and water as ingredients. In addition to the special Nawruz food, there are also plenty of fruits and vegetables to feed the crowd. Per Uyghur tradition, everyone who attends the festival has to taste some Nawruz Food. Although every Uyghur consider Nawruz as an important holiday, nobody knows exactly when the Uyghurs started celebrating the holiday. According to legends and folklore, it could be traced back to the period before Uyghurs became Muslims. Therefore, it is not a religious holiday. **************************************** Uyghurlar We Nowruz Mihray Abdilim Abral