Mobile Menu

Celebrating the Kazkh People of Xinjiang (Nowruz in China)

April 1 | No 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 and I think you’ll agree after seeing this video below that it was AMAZING.

Amazing Kazakh Dombra

Check it out and once you’re done, do me a favor by giving it a thumbs up!

The Kazakh of Xinjiang

The Kazakh people are the 3rd most populous ethnic group in Xinjiang behind the Uyghur and Han. While most of them live along the border regions of northern Xinjiang, there are still quite a few who reside here in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi.

They’ve had a tumultuous history here in Xinjiang, having been at one point expelled from the region in the early 1900’s, but now they’ve managed to integrate themselves into Xinjiang society such that it’s often hard to distinguish them.

My Kazakh friends here swear that I would would fall in love with their special horse meat dishes but until I have a chance to try it for myself, I’ll just have to settle for knowing that this weekend’s smoked lamb meat was absolutely delicious.

Two Kazakh women dressed in traditional Kazakh dresses

These two ladies, dressed in traditional Kazakh dresses, greeted everybody when we first arrived.

A man gets thrown to the ground during a Kazakh wrestling match

Young Kazakh men displayed their athleticism during a fascinating wrestling match that looked more like Judo.


This woman won my respect for wearing this outfit the entire celebration despite the weather getting quite warm!

During a Kazakh Newruz celebration, smoked lamb meat is served

Traditional Kazakh smoked lamb meat served during a Nowruz celebration.

Kazakh men and women of all ages enjoy a modern-day feast

Even Kazakh people like to celebrate with a little bit of Pepsi and Sprite.


“I want YOU to come to Kazakhstan someday” he says. Oh I will.

About Josh Summers

Josh is the author of Xinjiang | A Traveler's Guide to Far West China, the most highly-reviewed and comprehensive travel guide on China's western region of Xinjiang. He lived, studied and run a business in Xinjiang, China for more than 10 years, earning recognition for his work from CCTV, BBC, Lonely Planet and many others.

Continue Reading: