West Moving Festival of Xibe Minority
The Xibe ethnic people in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have set April 18 of each lunar year as the West Moving Festival, also called the April 18th Festival.
On April 18th, 1764, ordered by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), 3,275 Xibe people were forced to relocate from today"s Shenyang in Northeast China to Xinjiang, far in the northwest. The Xibe were relocated to the frontier in order to serve as reserve soldiers at a military outpost in case there was an invasion or unrest along the border. After a one and half year trek, they arrived at Xinjiang and began constructing their new homes.
In order to commemorate this historical event, Xibe from near and far gather on this day to hold various activities, hence the West Moving Festival.
On this day the Xibe make flour or bean sauce to mark the successful conclusion of their ancestors" westward move. Celebration activities include picnicking, archery, martial arts contests, singing and dancing. The singing performance that centers on the contents and scenes of their ancestors" move west is a unique part of the festival.
Men and women, old and young, all in their best attire come from far and near, singing and dancing to the joyous rhythms, to express their yearning for their hometown and longing for a better life in the future.