The Dongxiang ethnic minority derived their name from their native region - Dongxiang. Today, numbering 513,805, they mainly inhabit the Dongxiang Autonomous County in Gansu, with a small number in Xinjiang and Ningxia.
The Dongxiang language, similar to Mongol, and is a branch of Mongolia Austronesian of the Altaic phylum. Since they have no written language, literature developed orally. Huaer, a popular form can be sung in both daily life and at festivals, absorbing fully, the essence of their oratory creativity, though most can speak and write in Chinese.
Dongxiang ethnic minority holds firm faith in Islam which can be divided into Old, New and Emerging sects and have influenced people's life and customs so much.
Dongxiang people derive their living mainly from agriculture and stockbreeding, especially sheep. Nearly every family has grind stone to grind yam which is most popular food in Dongxiang daily life with Barley and Mutton also being staples.
Food and Food Culture:
Dongxiang people enjoy drinking tea. When entertaining, guests will very likely be greeted by the senior member of the household and presented dainty tea with sugar candy, longan and Chinese date inside. For dinner, chicken and even the whole mutton are the most sumptuous dishes. They do not eat the meat of pig, dog, horse, mule, and donkey, nor animal's blood; do not joke about food; and avoid presenting smoke and wine to guests.
For clothes, men like to wear round white hat, waistcoat, and a kind of black or blue coat. Women will wear head-cover, for they think hair should not appear outside; they spin and sew black and blue cloth for themselves, and wear clothes in single or simple color.
The most important four festivals of Dongxiang ethnic minority are all related to Islam. Korban Festival,Kaizhai Festival and other festivals are spent in piety.
More Ethnic Groups in Gansu Area:
Zang (Tibetan) Hui Tu Salar Mongol Bonan Yugur