Xinjiang Herdsman's Camp
On Urumqi and Turphan suburbs' grasslands, many minorities of Ha Sakes and Weiwuer herd cattle and sheep chasing water grass and they set some camps to live in which are built with billets and carpet on the grassland.
The flocks of sheep, herdsmen and herdsman's camps on the green grassland form a very beautiful picture.
A proverb prevails in Xinjiang: Kazakh people raise sheep, Weiwuer people sell sheep and Han people know how to eat sheep most. This sentence describes the scene of intergrowth of multi-nations in Xinjiang fully.
In fact, many minorities in Xinjiang live on herding sheep, what's more, some places with water have plentiful grasslands, the herding nations live and chase flocks of sheep following the water grass. This is the portrayal of herding life of Xinjiang minorities.
It is a very interesting experience to travel Xinjiang and visit the herding nations. When you come before the camps, the warm herdsmen whoever he is a Kazakh or Weiwuer, will give you a warm welcome. After the eldest enters the camp, he will be brought to take the most august seat.
After the visitors sit one after another, the host will immediately bestow milk tea made by themselves and pastry. The milk tea is made of sheep milk and black tea, very fragrant and a little salty. The pastry is made of flour by herdsmen personally, they are fragrant and crisp tasty snacks.
If you have a meal in herdsman's family, it will lead you to endless aftertastes. The host will please everyone to sit around on the ground, in the middle there is a white food cloth and on it there are milk tea, various pastry, the noodle of Xinjiang minorities named "Nang", many fresh fruits and many dry fruits such as grape, apricot, walnut.
Before having the meal, the host will put a big kettle and let the guests to wash their hands, then the meal starts. After having a little snack and milk tea, the main courses are up, they are roasted mutton cubes and roasted mutton legs. If they know a special important guest will come in advance, the herdsmen will slaughter a sheep to entertain him.
The most unique and the most traditional sumptuous food is "full sheep sumptuous food" with hand-grasped rice cooked with mutton juice. When the full mutton is finished cooking to the table, the host will use knife to divide the mutton into small sheets one and another then hold the mutton with two hands politely to the guests.
At the same time he will cheer with the guests. "Eating big pieces of meat and drinking big bowls of wine" is the most sincere way to entertain the guests in herdsman's heart.
To the climax of the meal, the herdsmen will bring out a kind of stringed instrument called "Dongbula" which is widely used in Middle East nations and is also the musical instrument when Xinjiang minorities are singing and dancing altogether and celebrating festivals.
The host can play and sing at the same time, he will also invite guests to sing and dance together. The herdsmen like pursuing the happy atmosphere with others to make the guests and hosts all happy.