ethnic minorities'customs

System article Type:English Date time:2010-07-01 00:00:00
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China has 55 ethnic minorities altogether and they share many of the festivals
celebrated by the Han Chinese people, like the Spring Festival! Each ethnic
minority has their own unique customs. Chinese Mongolians are one of the
country's largest ethnic minorities, with a population of about 5 million. The
majority live mainly in North China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. For
them the New Year celebration starts on the 23rd day of the 12th month according
to the lunar calendar, which is called the Year Ending Festival. It's a time
when the 'Kitchen God' is worshipped. According to ancient Chinese myth, it's
the Kitchen God who holds most influence over daily life. The Year Ending
Festival is as important for Mongolians as New Year's Eve is for the Han people.
Family members gather together to share a meal, and pray to the 'Kitchen God'
for his blessing. Boiled mutton is the main feature on the menu and it's
usually served with dates, grapes and cheese, then the dish is decorated with
silk in honor of the 'Kitchen God'. As part of the celebration ritual, the
eldest man in the family usually leads the family in prayers to the God. On
the eve of Spring Festival, which is also called the Year Beginning Festival,
all the family sit together at table to eat, talk and enjoy each others company.
Traditionally, a large piece of paper with the names of the family ancestors
is placed at the center of the table to symbolize that they are present in spirit
at the celebration. During the first five days of the lunar New Year, it's
custom to visit friends and relatives, and to offer eight fried cakes and wines.
The number eight being the most auspicious number for Mongolians, as it is for
HanChinese. Mongolians are famous for dancing and singing. You can find
musical instruments in every family, for example, the Shurdaga, the long necked,
threestringed lute, is very popular; or the Kluchir, which has four strings.
At Spring Festival, they dance and sing songs all day long. It's very interesting,
especially for the children, because the songs are full of stories and famous legends.
Like the Mongolian people, Chinese Koreans also use a lot of music in their
celebrations. There are around two million Koreans living in China, and the
majority live in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province.
To make the rice cake really sticky, the rice dough has to be beaten over and
over again in a stone container. When the rice cake is cooked, it's cut into
squarepieces and arranged on a plate with sugar and bean paste. But nowadays,
they don't have to go to all the trouble of making it at home and can easily
find it in the supermarket.
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