The history of the Hui people can be traced back to the ancient Uighur people, Dashi people, and other peoples of the Tang and Song Dynasties in the Northwest of China. Because they lived with the Han and other ethnic peoples for such a long period of time, the dresses of the Hui are of almost the same style as that of the other peoples where they live. In the Hui communities, middle-aged and aged men wear white hats, white cotton shirts with sleeveless jackets, and black trousers, while the women wear white or blue shawls. The older women usually wear black cotton-padded jackets and trousers with stringed bottoms.
The Hui people believe in Islam and are strict in their observance of Islamic traditions and conventions. Pork, for instance, is forbidden for the Hui. All their significant festivals are those observed in Islam, in which Fast-Breaking or Eid-ul-Fitr and the Corban Festival are the most important ones.
Fried cake, fried rolling noodles (sanzi), mutton, bean jelly, starch-square and mutton soup, cooked chopped entrails of sheep or cows are the traditional foods of the Hui people in Xinjiang. It is a unique way that the Hui people serve the food for a formal dinner. They lay it out in a pattern described as the following: “nine dishes are put on table in three lines”.
The Hui people speak and write using the Chinese language, but they intersperse their speech with some words or phrases of Arabic and Persian origins. The Hui people live scattered all across China with certain areas being host to a number of communities.
The Hui people are hard workers who are quick to adapt themselves to any new surroundings. In rural areas, they are engaged in farming and breeding domestic animals. The subsistence of the Hui living in towns is derived from making food, handicrafts, leather or fur products, as well as trade.
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