A father, and uncle, is always someone special in every young girl’s life. The 12 year old daughter snuggles into her father’s lap still wearing her pajamas from the previous evening while his niece wraps her arms tightly around his neck. No one wants to be left out of the love that’s shared within the household. It’s never an odd sight to see family members giving each other physical affection in Uyghur culture. Often you will spot fathers holding onto their young adult sons.
It’s morning inside a traditional Uyghur home near Korla, Xinjiang. After chai and breakfast the family generally sits around discussing life, family issues, and what things need to be taken care of during the day.
Teen Uyghur girls take a break after an afternoon of chai and dancing. Songs ranged from American pop stars like Ke$ha to traditional Uyghur and some tunes from Central Asia.
Through thousands of miles of travel and the dozens and dozens of dance parties I’ve been involved in…I’m beginning to believe that dance could bring the entire world together in peace. The laughter and love that comes through dance overcomes culture, religion, and language.
A Uyghur husband and wife work together, storing away the Fall’s harvest of fruit for the winter. The fruit, which is usually apples and pears, will be used by the family and given as gifts until the Spring.
It is quite common for Uyghur couples and families of Xinjiang to work together in the fields, with a high respect for the mother. Not only does the older women work in the fields but also will tend to the family matters late into the evening.
The sacrifice of a sheep for Eid al-Adha عيد الأضحى October 2012, Aksu Xinjiang
Feast of the Sacrifice is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet ʾIbrāhīm (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismā’īl (Ishmael) as an act of submission to God’s command and his son’s acceptance to being sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a Lamb to sacrifice instead. In the lunar Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days. In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.
Mother and son pick apples in the family’s orchard, September 2012
Early fall is fruit harvesting season in Xinjiang. Many families have their own orchards and fields that they grow a variety of fruit. The fruit is stored in a small building and eaten through out the fall and winter.
Fruit picking is much more difficult than you would imagine; as I dropped at least 1 in every 4 apples and pears I picked.
The eldest sister helps dress the younger before heading to town for supplies. Tibetans generally have 2 sets of clothing and you can see the eldest wearing her work clothes while the younger wears ornate and clean clothing when leaving home. It took approximately an hour for this young lady to clean and dress before heading out with a few of the family members. This family consisted of 10 members and lived in this room together.
U-Tsang Tibet, September 2011
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