People & Culture
Introduction | Tribes |
Art & Craft | Music & Dance | Traditional Weddings | Festivals
On a galloping, fine horse followed by hounds with an eagle perched on his arm: this is a typical image of Kazak people on the hunt. They live mostly in their autonomous prefectures and countries in Xinjiang, and also in places of Gansu and Qinghai. Their total population: 1.25 million people. Their places are surrounded by the Tianshan, Altai and Tarbaghatai Mountains, with Junggar and Ili valleys in the middle, crisscrossed by several rivers and dotted by plateau lakes. The surrounding hills make fine pastures for summer, while riverbanks and hilly lands are ideal for winter pasturing. For generations, the majority of Kazak people have wandered as a nomadic nationality, while a small number have farmed. Because of the environment, most are excellent hunters. They use no firearms but a traditional helper: the eagle. Training an eagle for hunting require much skill and effort.
Kazak language belongs to the Turkic group of Altaic phylum. The Kazak language is written based on Arabian letters, but many people can use Chinese, Uigur and Mongolian.
In the past, the Kazak ethnic minority believed in the Shamanism. In about the 11th century, they began to turn to Islam while some continued to admire nature, soul and fire like the Shamanists. Many festivals, such as the Corban Festival which is also celebrated among the Hui ethnic minority, are close related to their religion.
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