The Tagik ethnic minority is mainly distributed across the Tashi Ku'ergan Tagik Autonomous County in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. According to the census taken in 2000, the Tagiks have a population of 41,028. Although this group is among the smaller ethnic groups of China, they boast a rich history and an abundant culture.
Language and Character:
The Tagik language belongs to the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family. Some Tagik people can also speak the Uygur language and most of them write in Uygur since the Tagik language has no written form. According to folklore, the word Tagik means crown and this is usually how they refer to themselves.
The Tagiks follow the faith of Islam but usually only go to mosque during major festivals.
Making full use of the hypsography of their surroundings- the Pamir Mountains, the Tagik people live on stock husbandry as well as agriculture. They breed sheep, goats, yaks, horses, and camels, and grow Qingke (highland barley), wheat, corn and pea. They like to eat meat, and cook rice or pie with milk. For religious reasons, they never eat pork or dog, donkey or horse meat, nor do they eat any animals that die naturally. The Tagik people are very polite and warm. For visitors or even passers-by, they will often invite them in for some delicious mutton.
Tagik clothes are very distinctive. Men like to wear black cylinder-shaped flannelette hats, hang a delicate knife around the waist, and wear boots made of yak hide. Women's dome hats are usually decorated with flower patterns and a white shade on the back. However, on their wedding ceremony, they wear special hats with an extremely beautiful red shade.
The main festivals, of course, are related to their religion, such as the Corban Festival, the Spring Festival, the Almsgiving Festival and the Baluoti Festival. The Spring Festival, celebrated in the third month, is when the Tagiks thoroughly clean their houses and feed their ox. Then they go outside and visit each other. Women sift flour onto guests' shoulders for good luck. During the Baluoti, held on the first two days of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, there is a candle ceremony to pray for peace for all the family members.
The Tagik people place heavy stress on etiquette. When men greet each other, the tradition is to shake hands or kiss the back of the other's hands; women kiss the face and lips; and men and women shake hands or kiss the palm of the hand. The embrace is seen as a way of expressing their warmest feelings.
In other areas they obey most Islamic manners. Mothers teach their daughters to respect their husbands and parents-in-law; not to flirt with other men, and to be economical and diligent. When they have guests, they respect others' ideas fully and they never ask when the guest will be leaving.