Young Tajik children play in the Pamirs during the setting sun of Ramadan. Tajikistan July 2012
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.
Uzbek boy flexing his biceps for the camera in a small village near Samarkand. This is the family’s naan cooking and food preparation.
Uyghur couple near Aksu, East Turkestan, September 2012
Many in the West have this idea that Muslim men and women do not interact with one another, a segregated culture. I have found this to be quite untrue through out East Turkestan and often in Central Asia. This husband and wife were nearly always side be side, whether in the home, picking cotton, or working their personal fruit orchard.
A Uyghur dentist near Aksu, East Turkestan (Xinjiang, China), 2012
Muslim women in East Turkestan are often educated and find themselves in high positions of employment. Although the Uyghurs are generally a lesser educated and poorer minority of China, because of politics/government, they take great care in good hygiene and oral care (by comparison to the countryside/poor Han).
Once, during a conversation with a young lady of the Hui minority (the other Muslim minority) said, “Oh, we are not like Uyghurs, they are dirty people…they eat with their hands.” I could never understand this mentality, as I’ve eaten with my hands countless times, even at Uyghur weddings. Homes are extremely clean, by Chinese standards, and they wash their hands, feet, and brush their teeth daily.
A Uyghur couple rides an electric scooter through Old Town, Kashgar. This part of Kashgar is being demolished and rebuilt like many “ancient” towns in China. It will soon be “jiade” like the Great Wall and so many other “new” old and ancient places. I was there last March and again in August and couldn’t believe what had happened in such a short period of time.
Kashgar, October 2012