The Salar nationality 撒拉族


Chinese Name: 撒拉族

English Name: The Salar nationality

Languages: Salar language 撒拉语, Chinese 汉语

Total population: 1.3*105 (China mainland 2022)

Distribution: Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

The Salar nationality  撒拉族
The Sala nationality 撒拉族

Brief introduction

The Salar nationality 撒拉族 is one of the minority ethnic groups who believe in Islam 伊斯兰 in China. The national language is Salar, which belongs to the Altaic language family 阿尔泰语系. The Salar people are mainly distributed in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County 循化撒拉族自治县 of Qinghai Province 青海省, Hualong Hui Autonomous County 化隆回族自治县, Jishishan Bonan, Dongxiang and Salar Autonomous County 积石山保安族东乡族撒拉族自治县 of Gansu Province 甘肃省.

The Salar nationality  撒拉族

The history of the Salar nationality

According to folklore, there are many theories about the origin of the Salar people. The consensus in the academic circle is that the Salar people originated from Samarkand 撒马尔罕 in Central Asia. After the Salar ancestors moved into China from Samarkand in the Yuan Dynasty 元朝, they integrated and multiplied with the surrounding Tibetan 藏族, Hui 回族, Han 汉族, Mongolian 蒙古族 and other ethnic groups for a long time, and gradually formed a stable ethnic community – the Salar.

The religion of the Salar nationality

The Salar is one of the ten ethnic groups in China that believe in Islam. They strictly abide by the Islamic religious system and basic beliefs and respect the Quran古兰经 and Hadith 圣训. The Salar people are not different in the basic beliefs of Islam, but have different interpretations of teachings and laws or only slightly different ceremonial details. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the people of the Sharra people obtained the freedom of religious belief.

The Salar nationality  撒拉族

The Cultures of the Salar nationality

The costumes of the Salar nationality 撒拉族的服饰

Salar national costumes are relatively uniform. The clothing of the Salar people is basically the same as that of the Hui people, the difference is that the tops are generally wider and the waist is tied with cloth. In terms of colour, men are mainly white and black, and red, yellow and colourful clothes are taboo. In addition to participating in religious ceremonies, women wear bright and colourful clothes and black or purple waistcoats, which are even more charming and charming.

Salar men like to grow beards and wear hexagonal black or white round hats. Women wear hijabs, colourful clothes, black waistcoats, and gold and silver jewellery such as earrings, bracelets, and rings. Girls wear hijab after marriage.

The Salar nationality  撒拉族
The costumes of the Sala nationality 撒拉族的服饰

With the transformation of the animal husbandry economy to the agricultural economy, and the influence of the surrounding Hui, Han, etc., the styles and materials of clothing have also gradually changed. Nonetheless, the influence of Islam on clothing is still evident.

The diet of the Salar nationality 撒拉族的饮食

Salar people eat three meals a day. The food is mainly wheat, supplemented by highland barley, buckwheat, potatoes and various vegetables. The meat is mainly from cattle, sheep, and chicken. It is forbidden to eat the meat of non-ruminant animals such as pigs, dogs, donkeys, mules, and horses, and the meat, blood and self-death of all ferocious animals.

Milk tea and barley tea are the favourite beverages of Salar men, women and children. There are tea utensils such as fire pots and gaiwan in every household. In addition to clear tea, milk tea and Gaiwan tea, daily beverages also often drink barley tea and fruit leaf tea. When making barley tea, the barley grains are roasted and smashed, salt and other ingredients are added, and they are boiled in a clay pot. Fruit leaf tea is made from dried fruit tree leaves that have been roasted and half-charred, and has a unique flavour.

The Salar nationality  撒拉族
barley tea 麦茶

The architecture of the Salar nationality 撒拉族的建筑

Each Salar family has its own courtyard, called “Zhuangkuo 庄廓 “, which consists of four parts: the main room, the kitchen room, the guest room and the circle room. The main room is in the middle, the kitchen room and the guest room are on both sides, and the circle room is built in the southeast or southwest corner of the courtyard. The Salar family hangs the Islamic scriptures written in Arabic on the central wall of the main room, expressing their devout admiration.

The Salar nationality  撒拉族
The architecture of the Sala nationality 撒拉族的建筑

The rituals of the Salar nationality 撒拉族的礼节

Salar people generally do not drink alcohol or smoke. It is strictly forbidden to spit in and around the mosque or bring dirty objects into the mosque. When praying, others are not allowed to walk in front of you; do not wash clothes near wells and ponds. Avoid coughing and blowing your nose when talking to people. In addition, there can be no rude behaviour in front of the elderly.

The Salar nationality  撒拉族

If you are a guest at a Salar people’s house, if you want to drink water or wash your hands, you must ask the host to do it for you, and don’t do it yourself. To eat pancakes, steamed buns, etc., you must break them apart before eating them.

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