URUMQI, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Chinese Muslims, including thousands sheltered in relief tents in a quake zone, celebrated the annual Corban Festival Monday.
The festival, also known as Id al-Gurban, is a major Islamic festival showing faith and obedience to Allah.
Mosques in northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Ningxia Hui autonomous region, two major Muslim communities, drew large crowds chanting and singing religious sutras in the early morning.
After the religious rite was completed, they went home to entertain relatives and friends with mutton, cakes, pears and apples.
The festive mood also prevailed in an earthquake-hit area in northeastern Xinjiang, where the magnitude-6.0 tremor toppled more than 2,000 houses and affected the lives of 143,800 residents last week.
People prepared festival food in relief tents set up in a school playground in the county of Yining, near the epicenter, and extended greetings to each other as usual.
Local authorities have ordered the supply of food and festival goods from neighboring regions to ensure Muslims in the quake zone can observe the Id al-Gurban, officials said.
"We have plenty of food and every daily necessity here," said Muslim woman Hamoshan. "But it would have been more festive had the earthquake not struck."
Bazaars, in the Xinjiang regional capital Urumqi, were also crowded with Muslims selecting foods and costumes.
During the festival, livestock is butchered and divided into three parts. One is for the family, one for relatives and friends, and the rest goes to charity.
"It is an important occasion for family reunion, so I flew for the first time in my life to return home to celebrate the festival with my family," said Abliz, a carpenter of the Uygur ethnic group who works in Urumqi. His hometown is in Wushi county in Aksu prefecture, more than 1,000 km away from the regional capital.
"Although the ticket fare is expensive, it's worth the trip," he said.
Civil servants in Xinjiang were given the day off Monday, while Muslims of different ethnic groups who have the tradition of celebrating the Corban Festival got three days vacation.
China has more than 20 million Muslims, mainly living in Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia and Henan.
In Beijing, the Islamic Association of China (IAC) held a reception Sunday to mark the festival. IAC President Chen Guangyuan delivered a speech at the event, extending congratulations to Muslims in China and around the world.
Chen also prayed for the Muslims who died in the recent earthquake in Turkey.