Hui ethnic group is the largest Muslim minority in China, and is one of China’s fifty-six distinct ethnic minorities. Ten of the fifty-six recognized ethnic minorities in China are Muslim groups and China's Muslim population now numbers twenty-three million. Over ten million are estimated to be Hui, and a little under ten million are Uyghurs. Hui communities are concentrated mainly in the Northwestern provinces of China such as in Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Hebei, Henan, Yunnan, and Shandong Provinces but they are also scattered across the country such as Beijing and Inner Mongolia.
The Hui ethnic group is descendants of Persian, Arab and Mongol merchants who came to China as a trader on the Silk Road from the seventh to the fourteenth century. Now they are the most widely distributed ethnic group of China because they have become ethnically mixed through intermarriages with the local Han Chinese. Many of them speak Chinese as their mother tongue and acquired the customs and living habits of the Han but religion differentiates the two ethnic groups significantly. Many of them still have foreign descent looks because of their ancestry as it is common to find them with hazel-green eyes, beards, high-bridged noses, and light-colored hair.
The Hui's history and culture is heavily influenced by Islamic religion. However, the Hui people differ from the other Muslims of China because they do not have a language of their own and speak the Chinese dialect of their locality. They do dressed differently than the Hans where the Hui men wearing white or black brimless hats, especially during religious services. The hats are made in a variety of shapes including pentagonal, hexangular or octagonal. Women are often seen wearing white, black or green scarves on and young girls often like to wear green veils with golden edges or elegant embroidered patterns of flowers.
While Hui communities share the same local dialect of their neighbour's, their cuisines are quite different. The most common significant distinction is that they don’t eat pork. Their cuisine is called qingzhen, which means, 'pure truth' or it also stands for 'Halal food.' The Hui people prefer food made of flour rather than rice and is known for their penchant for beef and lamb noodles. Typical Hui cuisine includes Lamian noodles or 'pulled noodles', Nan bread, roast mutton, and mutton Kebabs. They also like to add honey or sugar to their dishes.
Mosque has becomes a symbol of Hui communities. Large crowds can be seen at the mosques on Eid al-Fitr and Eid al- Adha. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al- Adha are the most important religious festivals for the Hui and Muslims worldwide in general. During the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, Muslims fasts for a whole month and Eid -al Fitr is celebrated to mark the end of the Ramadan. The Hui would gather at the mosques in the morning to pray and then visit relatives and friends. Eid al- Adha is celebrated on the tenth day in the twelfth month on the Islamic calendar to commemorate the day when the Prophet Ibrahim ‘sacrificed’ his son, Ismail, as an act of submission to God's command. After the morning prayer at the mosque, the men would gather for the sacrificial ceremony where they will slaughter chicken, cattle and goats donated by those who can afford it as a symbol of sacrifice to Allah.