Name : Corban Festival
Date : the tenth day of the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar
The Corban Festival, an annual major traditional Islamic festival, falls on the tenth of the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar and is celebrated by Chinese minority nationalities that believe in Islam, including Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Ozbek, Taj ik, Tartar, Kirgiz, Salar, Dongxiang and Bonan. It is called Eid-al-Adjha in Arabic. Eid means festiva I and Adj ha, sacrifice. Therefore this day is also called Corban. Based on the Gregorian calendar, the date for Corban Festival is not fixed every year, usually more than 10 days behind the Gregorian calendar, at the end of November.
According to Islamic legend, once in a year, Muslims slaughtered a certain number of cattle and donated them to other people so as to show their sincere faith in Allah. Ibrahim, a prophet, once promised in public that he would slaughter his son as a sacrifice if Allah asked him to do so. In a dream, Ibrahim got Allah's divine message for him to practice his promise by slaughtering his son as a sacrifice. The dream repeated several times and finally, Ibrahim painfully made up his mind. On the next day, the tenth day of the final month according to the Islamic calendar, a tearful Ibrahim took his son to a hilltop. When he was about to carry out the order, a messenger sent by Allah descended with a sheep, and asked Ibrahim to sacrifice the sheep instead of his own son. It is said that that day is the 10th day of the twelfth month of Islamic Calendar. Since then the Muslims have been marking the day by slaughtering sheep. This gradually evolved into the Corban festival, one of the most important Islamic festivals. During Corban, all Islamic families would clean up their houses and be busy making various cakes for the festival. All families that possess cattle exceeding a certain number would butcher some sheep, camels or oxen. it is regulated that the sheep to be slaughtered must be fostered more than one year and the oxen, more than two years. These families could keep one-third of the slaughtered cattle for themselves and distribute the rest to the poorest people and relatives. In the morning of Corban, Islamic people would tidy their clothes after taking a bath and listen to imams' interpretation of Koran in the mosques. It is the largest gathering in the mosques throughout a year. After prayers and rites, al the families will go to the graveyard to pay tribute to their late beloved on the day.
Meanwhile, Corban also provides an optimum opportunity for conversation during which many Islamic people get together and share mutton, cakes, melons and fruits with others.
In Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Muslims are given three days as holidays to celebrate the Corban Festival. In Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, all the governmental staff and employees, no matter they are Muslims or not, are given one day leave on Corban. Islamic associations across China also organize gatherings during the Corban Festival.