Brief Introduction of Kirgiz Ethnic Group

“Mountain residence”—Kirgiz nationality

Kirgiz nationality is one of minor nationalities in China, which mainly live in west region of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, especially in Kezhilesu Kirgiz autonomous state. It also distributes in Yili, Tachen, Akesu and Kashi in Xinjiang and Fuyu in Heilongjiang province. The total population is 140,000. 

Kirgiz nationality has a long history. In Han dynasty, it was called “Gekun”or “Jiankun”; “Qigu”in Jin dynasty; “Jiankun”, “Jikasi”or “Qiliqisi”in Tang and Song dynasty; “Jirjisi” or “Qirjisi” in Yuan or Min dynasty. All those names were based on the “Kirgiz”, which were different Chinese translation in different times.  Kirgiz people call themselves “Kirgiz”, which means “40 tribes”, “40 girls” or “people on the prairie”. In Qing dynasty, those people were called “Bulute”, which meant “Mountain residence” 

Kirgiz nationality possesses its own language and letter. The language belongs to Turki, Altai language family; the letter is based on Arabic letters. Most Kirgiz people can speak Uyghur languane, Kazakstan language or Chinese.

Kirgiz people live on stockbreeding; a few people engage in agriculture. In summary, herdsmen live in round yurt; in winter, they stay in adobe bungalow. Their staple foods are meat, dairy products, rice and flour

Most Kirgiz people believe in Ismlamism. The traditional festivals include “Nuolaozhi Festival”, Gurbang Festival, Rouzhi Festival etc. During festivals, entertainments such as catching sheep, horse race, wrestling and so forth.

Kirgiz people are excellent singers and dancers; their folk songs are full of styles and subjects. Hero epic Manasi is 200,000 lines long, which is not only an art treasure, but also a encyclopedia to study the history and culture of Kirgiz nationality. Additionally, painting, embroidery and sculpture art of Kirgiz people are very characteristic.