Xining Festivals and Events

Xining Festivals and Events introduce a brief introduction of festivals and activities and tell travelers Top Things to Do for Xining festivals Tours and important Xining events and activities including Exhibition, Conference, Trade Show, Expositions and Trade Fairs.

With the exception of Chinese traditional festivals, every place has its own festival to show their special places, culture, or specialties, so does Xining.  The festivals in Xining are influenced by a lot of things, such as their spiritual beliefs and the culture of the people. Because of the closeness of Xining to Tibet, some minorities have also built their homes here. There are also several Muslim families currently living here. Therefore, local festivals and acitivities feature in religion culture.

Major Festivals in Xining

Four Assemblies in the Ta'er Monastery

Every year, four assemblies are held in its grand Buddhist monastery known as Ta’er. It is happens twice before June and twice before December. The first assembly shall happen during the first few days of lunar January (their calendar is still based on the one used by the Chinese). The second assembly is held from the 8th to 15th day of lunar April to commemorate the birth, becoming a monk and nirvana of Sakyamuni. The last two assemblies are respectively conducted on 3rd – 9th day of lunar June and 20th to 26th day of lunar September. The assembly lasts for 10 days, during which the participants perform the Devil Dance or showcase a very interesting butter sculpture. Yes, it’s truly butter that is made from yak. It’s quite thick, and since the climate in the region is cold, it doesn’t really melt right away. Around this time, hundreds of visitors flock the area to see these sculptures, which are patterned in various shapes including birds and Buddha (which you see a lot in Xining).

Lesser Bairam

It is actually a religious and cultural festival with a grand ceremony, as grand as the Spring Festival of the Han people and the Tibetan compatriots celebrate the Tibetan Year. On the eve of the festival, Muslims who work outside, do business or travel on business have to get home early to spend a wonderful holiday with their families. It lasts for three days. From dawn on the first day, every family gets up early and do thorough cleaning to give people a clean, comfortable and pleasant feeling. Adult Hui Muslims should wash themselves thoroughly. After 8 o'clock in the morning, the Muslim masses brought blankets or prayer mats to the mosque.

Corban Festival

It is a grand festival of Islam in Xinjiang. The time is December 10 of the Hijri calendar. In the early morning of the festival, Muslims will bathe and dress up to go to the mosque, then go home to slaughter sheep and cook meat, ready to entertain guests and give away to relatives and friends. The festival lasts for three days, with families visiting relatives and friends to congratulate each other. Cheerful and melodious drum music can be heard everywhere in urban and rural areas. Men, women and children participate in various ethnic forms of singing, dancing, games and other entertainment activities.

Hua'er Folk Song Festivals

Hua'er, literally means flower, however this one doesn’t really refer to a certain type of flower or the celebration of flowers. Instead, it’s very similar to the festivals held in the monastery (Wufeng Temple). This style of singing, and the customs that go with it, are widely practiced not only in Qinghai, but also in Gansu and Ningxia. The occasion is a chance to hear the nomads singing folk songs, either impromptu or staged.

Nadun Festival of Tu Ethnic Group

“Nadun” is the transliteration of the Tu nationality’s language, and means “play”, “entertainment” and “game”, etc. It is a festival of joyfully celebrating harvest of the people of the Tu nationality in the regions of Guanting, Zhongchuan and Gangou, Minhe county, Qinghai province, so it is also called as “party of farmers”, “party of celebrating harvest” and “July party”, etc. Nadun is held in each summer after the wheat harvest, generally from July 12 to September 15 according to the lunar calendar, lasting 2 months. The main Nadun activities are dances and drama performances.

Horse Racing Festival

A lot of the Tibetans are nomads, and they usually horses to help them move around. It isn’t surprising therefore if they will have their own horse racing festival. It is normally celebrated around July 25. One of the highlights is, of course, the racing of horses, though other animals such as the yak may also be competing with one another. Others are engaged in tugs of war. 

Activities in Xining

China·Qinghai Tulip Festival

The China·Qinghai Tulip Festival is held once a year. Since 2002, it has successfully held five consecutive sessions in Xining. As a messenger of beauty, tulip festival has set up a bridge for Xining to go to the world. As the carrier of Xining's city spirit and characteristics, tulip festival has become a window to show the city's image and popular spirit. The annual tulip festival gain a grand celebration each year, attracting countless Chinese and foreign guests.

Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race

It is an annually held event in Xining. The event is held during the period from July to August every year since 2002. Co-organized by Qinghai Provincial Government, Union Cycliste Internationale, UCI Asia Tour and Chinese Cycling Association, it is the largest international road cycling race and top of its kind in Asia. The participants increase every year.

Winter Ice and Snow Festival

 Winter in Xining is the second busiest with tourists for it is the best time for skiing and other activities at Ice and Snow Fetsival. It is usually held from late December to early Feb, lasting a month and half. Winter sports and entertainments are the highlights of the festival, such as skiing competition, ice sculpture and hot springs, etc.

Edited by Brittany Tian/田春燕