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Tatar Nationality

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The Tatar ethnic group in China has a population of 4,890, most of whom live in the towns of Yining, Tacheng, and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. They mostly live in the basins among the Altai Mountain and Tianshan Mountain, such as Junggar Basin. The areas they live are rich grassland which provides good natural condition for animal husbandry.

The Tatars, historically named the Dadan, are descended from a branch of a Mongolian tribe, who used to inhabit the region near the Volga River. From the beginning of the 20th century, they gradually settled in Xinjiang. Most of them were occupied as merchants.

The Tatar nationality has its own language, which belongs to Turkic branch of the Altaic language family. However, as a result of frequent contact with the Uygur and Kazak people, they also use Kazak or Uygur language. Their written language is based on Arabic letters, but now they often also use Kazak and Uygur characters.

Most of the Tatar people are adherents of Islam. Tatar cuisine includes scones, zhuafan, pastries, noodles, beef and mutton dishes, as well as various vegetables. Meats from pigs, donkeys, or mules are forbidden in their diet. Tatar drinks include the beer-like keerxima, which is made from fermented honey, and Kesaile, a wine brewed from wild grapes.

In cities and towns, they often live in flat houses built of earth, while those in the pasturing areas live in tents which are easy to set up and tear down. Tapestry and carpets are common decorations in their houses. Some of houses are decorated with European style furniture and delicate ornaments.

Tatar men usually wear embroidered white shirts, under a black waistcoat or black robe, with a black or black and white embroidered hat. Young people like to wear peaked caps, and long leather shoes. Women wear white, yellow, or amaranth pleated one-piece skirts as well as small hats, with a short veil covering the back of the head and neck.

Tatar people have strong sense of musical rhythm. Their music is full of grassland sentiment, and is accompanied by accordion, mandolin, and violin, etc. Tatars celebrate Saban Festival (plowshare festival) each year after they finished their spring ploughing. They also celebrate Corban Festival, Almsgiving Festival and Kaizhai Festival in line with other Islamic believers. Their favorite sports include wrestling, horse racing, and tug of war.

 More ethnic minorities of China:         Tu          Tujia          Wa          Xibe   

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