culture Archives | Xinjiang: Far West China

Uyghur Customs | 26 Rules for Hosting or Being Hosted

October 29 | 3 Comments

Hosting or being hosted by somebody from a different culture can always be a bit stressful, and for me the Uyghur culture with all the nuances of Uyghur customs, has been no different.

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Buzkashi Explained: Mysterious Rules & Traditions

September 17 | 26 Comments

What is “Buzkashi” and how is it played? I’ve had the privilege of witnessing a number of games of Buzkashi and in addition to sharing some of my favorite photos from these experiences, I’d also like to explain the rules of Buzkashi as best I understand them. Buzkashi (pronounced “booz-ka-shee”) is a popular Central Asian game […]

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Celebrating Qurban in Urumqi, Xinjiang

August 31 | 42 Comments

It’s Qurban Festival in Xinjiang (aka “Corban” or “古尔邦节”) and I decided to take a walk through my local neighborhoods here in Urumqi to capture some photos and a video. You can watch the video below or scroll further down to read a more thorough description of Xinjiang’s Qurban Festival accompanied by a few photos. Hopefully […]

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Learning the Uyghur Dutar in Xinjiang

September 9 | 10 Comments

The dutar is a two-stringed lute that is characterized by a long neck and pear-shaped body. There are various forms of the instrument that are played all over Central Asia, but the Uyghur dutar is known as one of the largest in this family of plucked instruments. I’ve always been fascinated by the Uyghur dutar and have known a […]

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Fascinating Tradition of Uyghur Paper Making in Hotan

January 28 | 41 Comments

The tradition of Uyghur paper making in Hotan (Khotan), Xinjiang has been around for more than 2,000 years, and yet somehow it rarely gets a mention in most travel guides or tour packages. The truth is, if it weren’t for government subsidies, this local tradition of making paper from mulberry trees probably would have died […]

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The Day I Ran Across a Mass Uyghur Wedding in Turpan

August 22 | 4 Comments

Living in Xinjiang has been a non-stop adventure for me – I love it! I have incredible memories of experiencing local festivals, traveling the province on my motorcycle and visiting small villages near the border of Kazakhstan. Memories like these are often created but every once in a while they just appear in front of you without […]

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Joining 40,000 Muslims Breaking Ramadan in Kashgar

July 29 | 4 Comments

My alarm went off at 5:30am local time this morning and the sky was already filled with the soft light of dawn. This is only my 3rd day here in Kashgar, a lively desert oasis on the western edge of Xinjiang. Although the intense heat has consistently drained me of energy, I was surprisingly excited to jump […]

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Kazakh Dombra | Amazing Display of Talent [Video]

April 28 | 5 Comments

This last weekend I was privileged to attend a late Nowruz celebration put on by the Kazakh Consul here in Urumqi, Xinjiang. It was a beautiful display of traditional Kazakh costume, Kazakh singing, and even some Kazakh wrestling.

My favorite memory, however, was a personal concert given me by a talented young Kazakh Dombra player. I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed such fast strumming in my life…

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Learn the Uyghur Language: A Beginners Textbook Review

March 6 | 2 Comments

So you’re thinking about learning Uyghur, eh?

There aren’t a whole lot of resources available for learning the Uyghur language, but if you are planning to live in Xinjiang someday you’re probably desperate for something.

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Buzkashi: Experiencing the World’s Deadliest Sport

January 8 | 6 Comments

It seems more appropriate to say that Kazakh sport of Buzkashi is what English polo might look like if it was played in prison.

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The 2015 Xinjiang travel guide is here!