URUMQI, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Festivity is in the air as Muslims in Xinjiang are anticipating the arrival of Eid al-Fitr, a festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, on Wednesday.
Aygul got up early on Sunday morning and accompanied her mother to the Eastern Bazaar in Kashgar. When they arrived, the market was already bustling with people shopping for holiday goods.
"I didn't expect there to be so many people. I thought we were early," she said.
Many of the over 13 million Muslims in Xinjiang were busy cleaning their homes, buying new clothes, and preparing special festival food over the weekend.
Imam Jan's silk shop in the Eastern Bazaar was crowded with customers selecting cloth for new garments on Sunday. With a lighter in hand, Imam would pick up a small piece of silk and set it on fire once in a while to prove the authenticity of his silk.
Atlas silk is a local textile with bright colors and distinctive patterns, usually worn by Uygur women on special occasions.
Bilkizil and her mother were among the customers at the silk shop. "I have already made some clothes with several pieces of silk cloth during Ramadan. We are here today to buy more, since there should be more choice in terms of pattern and style near the festival," she said.
Near the entrance of the bazaar, barbers cut customers' hair and shaved mustaches outdoors. Several big umbrellas sheltered them from the scorching sun.
Seventy-year-old Tursunjan has been a street barber for 20 years. With the nearing of Eid al-Fitr, he has been receiving more than 20 customers per day. He charges 3 yuan (40 U.S. cents) for each haircut.
"I go to the mosque to pray first on the festival and come back here later in case there are any customers," he said.
At the entrance of the bazaar, the roads are almost blocked by stalls.
After a day's shopping, Aygul and her mother were loaded down with bags of clothes, dry fruits and pastries. They still wanted to buy some fresh fruit and flowers.
"We Uygur people are born with a love for flowers; we like decorating our windows and furniture with them," she said.
In a naan bread shop in the old town of Kashgar, Sawut Khari and his three apprentices worked overtime to meet demand.
The four of them have to knead 500 kg of flour per day during this busy season. They are looking forward to Eid al-Fitr, as they will have one day off.
Ramadan, a month of prayer and fasting, lasts from June 6 to July 6 this year. There will also be big celebrations for Eid al-Fitr in Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia and Beijing, home to large concentrations of China's 20 million Muslims.