The Yellow River is the birthplace of Chinese culture. It is 5464km in length, covering an area of 795 000 km squares. Since a long time ago, many groups have settled by the River, and various cultural patterns have been developed along this cradle of Chinese civilization. The 100 thousand Salars living in the Xunhua Salar Autonomy County located in the east of Qinghai Plateau is a living example. Their hamlets and trails are all blessed with the nourishment of the River.

The Yellow River is not tame. People in the past held that it was impossible to build a bridge over it. However, the Salars can cross the River with the help of a sheepskin raft, a traditional transport which can carry passengers and goods up to ten tons, depending on the size of the raft. The Salars play an instrument called Kouxuan. This hoof-shaped instrument, made of copper or silver, is only as big as a paper clip. Its tone is plaintive and delicate.

The tenth of the twelfth month in the Hijri calendar (Islamic calendar) marks Corban Festival, or Slaughtering Festival. This traditional Islamic festival is the most important festival for the Salars. As preparation, people have to clean their houses to show respect. On the festival day, adult Muslims have to wash themselves, light incense and dress properly, with men attending a Mosque service early in the morning. Families slaughter cattle, sheep or camels to make food; sweet, cakes, noodles etc. are also prepared and shared among friends and neighbours. As an immigrant group integrating themselves into Chinese culture along the Yellow River, the Salars are striving to preserve their own culture so that it will not disappear. To extend their once rich and colourful culture, they make all the endeavours to retain their identity and live with the River.
30 minutes
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