Our friend and student, Mahmud, invited us to his family home for the Korban festival (also known as Eid al-Adha), which remembers Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. We began by drinking fragrant tea at a table laden with fruit, pastries, and naan bread. Our hosts offered water separately to the men and women to wash, pouring it over our hands and passing around towels.
Then the eating began! Mahmud’s father ceremoniously broke a naan bread in half and passed pieces to us. We dipped it in vegetable stew, with chunks of roast meat from a lamb that had been sacrificed earlier that morning. Homemade noodles came next. We thought the meal had ended, but soon pumpkin and meat dumplings were served—making us sorry for eating too much earlier. A few hours later, and worried about overstaying our welcome, the final dish arrived—huge platters of pilaf rice with boiled lamb. Finally, Mahmud’s father gave a sign: Everyone raised their hands while he gave thanks, passed our palms over our faces and said, “Amin.”
Traditional Uighur hospitality is overwhelming. Through food and hospitality, our Uighur hosts express honor and friendship to us. As their guests, we sought to honor and please them by expressing our deepest thanks for their generosity.
Our meal with Mahmud’s family happened several years ago. Today, Uighur culture faces great stress and challenges as a religious minority in a large nation that has cultural and political tensions. Uighurs have to find new ways of preserving their honor and offering their hospitality.
WAYS TO PRAY:
Song of Solomon 2:4 links a banqueting table with love. Pray that God’s love will be a banner over the Uighurs.
Uighurs are an oppressed minority in China. Pray for the Church in China to reach out to them.
Let Matthew 22:1–14 inspire your prayers for the Uighurs.