Their food, drink and daily life and the abstention of religious ceremonies
The Hui nationality believes in Islam. Islam is a kind of strict god religion, so most of their customs and habits are closely related with that.
In the aspect of food life, they take rice and flour as principal foods. The main foods include steamed bun, pancake, steamed stuffed bun, dumplings and noodles in soup, etc. On New Year's Day or other festivals, they like to eat salted cake, deep-fried dough twist and other fried foods. In the aspect of meat, influenced by Islam and the notion that "food can nourish one's nature" in traditional Chinese culture, by "closely examine the image and observe the good sense", they generally choose oxen, sheep, camels, rabbits, deer, river deer, chicken, ducks, geese, sparrows and fishes and shrimps as foods by the standard of "birds eat grains and beasts eat grass", because these animals are not ugly in appearance, not greedy and lazy, and are even-toed and ruminant. Additionally, except the aquatic products, they must firstly recite "taisimi", broke the animals' throats and killed them, and then can eat them. They are forbidden to eat wolf, worm, tiger, leopard, bear, donkey, horse, mule, pig, dog, fox, cat, mouse, python and snake, hawk, sparrow hawk, birds of prey, shark, whale, and the blood of animals and the animals that die by themselves, especially pork. Generally they do not drink, either.
In the aspect of housing, the houses of the Hui nationality are generally built according to the environment in different places. In the rural areas in northwestern China, most of them live in one-story houses, cave dwellings and tile-roofed brick houses. The styles are mostly in "tiger hugging head", or facing south, having both light and shade. In the southern mountain areas of Ningxia, they like to add a room on the one-story houses, conventionally called as "higher house", which is used as church and to prevent the disturbance of children and other people. Most of the lintels over the gates are pasted with "Du'ayi" from the Koran in Arabian. Mountains-and-waters paintings and calligraphies and Arabian wall scrolls are hung in the principal rooms. Because Islam objects to worshiping any idols, the Huis do not hang busts and animal pictures, and any pictures and photos with eyes cannot be put up. As they are particular about sanitary conditions and love clean environment, and for the needs of religious life, each family will prepare "jugs", "cages" and other washing and showering facilities as necessities.
In the aspect of marriage, they advocate that "the choice of marriage is not based on the economic conditions, they must choose the kind-hearted", they do not attach importance to family status, riches and honor, but to the moral characters, talents and appearance of double parties. When holding wedding ceremonies, they must invite the ahung to recite "nikaha" (Arabian, means uniting in wedlock) and write "yizhabu" (the document of witnessing the wedding).
In the aspect of funeral, they call death as "wuchang" or "returning to original purity", call corpse as "buried body", and universally implement burial in the ground. They advocate quick burial and simple and thrifty burial, with no funerary objects, and forbid using inner and outer coffins. After death, the corpse is cleaned by plain water, wears "kefan" (white cloth to bind and wrap the corpse). The ahung is invited to "zhenazi" (chair the funeral). After the corpse is placed into the tomb, it should face west, showing facing the Holy land Mecca.
In the aspect of ceremony custom, the people of the Hui nationality are warm-hearted and hospitable, and attach a lot of importance to courtesies. When the relatives, friends and well-acquainted people meet, they express "seliangmu" (the words of wishes and greetings) to each other. When the strangers meet on the road, they always are very modest and courteous, give precedence to others, and ask the elder people and generation to walk first. In the aspect of life ceremony custom, when an infant comes to the world for 3 to 7 days, or a month, its parents should invite the ahung to give it a scripture name. When a boy reaches the age of 12, circumcision is carried out.
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