With a population of 36,000 in Xinjiang, Tajiks live in compact communities in Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, and the rest inhabit in the areas in southern Xinjiang, including Shache, Zepu, Yecheng and Pishan. The origin of the Tajik people can be traced to tribes speaking eastern Iranian and moved from the western Pamirs to settle in Tashkurgan. Tajik language belongs to an east Pamirs sect of the Iranian Language Group of Indo-European Language Family and it is the only ethnic nationality of Xinjiang that speaks a language of Iranian Group they used to speak Persian but nowadays generally use the Uygur language writing system.
Tajik live in the eastern part of Pamirs, 3,000 meters above sea level. Every spring, they sow highland barley, pea, wheat and other cold-resistant crops. They move their herds to highland pastures in early summer, return to harvest the crops in autumn and then spend winter at home, leading a semi-nomadic life.
Men wear tall lambskin hats and collarless long jackets with belts, on top of which they add sheepskin overcoats in cold weather. Women wear dresses and their embroidered cotton-padded hats also have back flaps.
The Tajik herdsmen enjoy butter, sour milk, and other dairy products, and regard meat as a delicacy. It is a taboo to eat pork. Most Tajik houses are square and flat-roof in structures and built with wood and stone. Since the high plateau is often assailed by snowstorms, the rooms are spacious but low. When herdsmen graze their herds in the mountains, they usually live in yurts or mud huts.
The Tajiks believes in Islamism. Except for the Islamic festivals, the Tajik Spring Festival, which falls in March, marks the beginning of a new year, which is the most important occasion for the Tajik people. The Tajik people pay great attention to etiquette and are very hospitable. They offer delicious stewed mutton (mutton eaten with hands rather than chopsticks), rice boiled by milk, buttered paste.
The Tajik people are brave and friendly. In Tajik’s legends, eagle is a symbol of the hero. They like playing a short flute made with eagle-wing-bone and their dance is famous for imitating eagle’s flying. Moreover, the Tajik people are known as their horsemanship. Their favorite sports - “sheep tussling” and “Guapoq” are clung to horse.