Partners:

List your Thailand travel business
advertise here

Partners:

ThailandGuide24 - travel website
Thailand Golf Tours
China New Year

New Year’s in Yunnan in China

Water-Splashing Festival in Southwest China

For the Dai people residing in Southwest China, more specifically in Xishuangbanna in the Yunnan province, New Year’s normally falls between the 14th and 16th of April. This is the most important holiday of all and is fundamentally about cleansing the Buddha. April is the sixth month of the Dai calendar, but symbolizes the entrance into the New Year. The New Year Festival here is more commonly called the “Water-Splashing Festival”, “The Water Festival” or “The Festival for Washing the Buddha”.

The Yunnan Water Festival and the Legend about the Devil and his Wives

There are many tales about the origin of the Xishuangbanna Water Festival, but the most common is the one about when the Devil was residing together with the Dai people. He was always up to vicious schemes and the people all hated him but were powerless before his black magic. One day, during the sixth month, his seventh wife found out about his weakness and while the Devil was soundly sleeping she cut off his head with strands of his own hair. The severed head caught fire when it hit the ground and the only way to put out the fire was for one of his wives to hold it tight in her arms. The seven wives took turns holding the head for a year at a time, and when it came to changing holders the Dai people were to splash water on the wife who had held the head for the past year to wash away the blood and fatigue.

The Water Festival Day-to-Day Schedule

These days the Water Festival in China is a loud, crazy and very happy occasion where people laugh and party twenty-four seven. The Dai people say good bye to the past year and welcome the new with a bang – or should we say – a splash.

The first day of the Xishuangbanna New Year Festival consists of heaps of dancing and singing entertainment for everyone to participate in. There is also a massive dragon boat race where long, colourful dragon boats glide up the Lancangjiang River, it is an amazing sight. In the evening people release candle lanterns into the sky. All the people of the Yunnan province are excited that the New Year Festival finally has taken off.

Day two is the China Water Festival’s most important day. The greatest event this day is of course the water-splashing activities. Everyone who is able will carry buckets, basins and bowls full of water to the roadsides, and everyone who later participates in the water-splashing episode will be rid of bad luck and cleansed from sins and mistakes. The person who gets most wet will have a really lucky New Year. In the evening of day two more shows and parades are executed and different ethnic groups will dress up in their traditional clothing. There are also a lot of people serving homemade Dai food to the crowds.

The wild party continues and on the third day locally made rockets are fired into the sky. The rockets are made of bamboo sticks and gun powder. The young generation also exchanges gifts with one another.

The Water Festival in Xishuangbanna, China, attracts tourists from all over the country and anyone planning a trip to this area should definitely consider visiting during the New Year Festival.

The Water Festival in different parts of Southeast Asia

There is 25 different ethnic minorities in the Yunnan province and the Dai people is the biggest minority with 34 %. Back in the days the Dai people lived closely in Southwest China but due to political instability and wars the people were split and started moving into different regions. These regions are today known as Laos and Thailand, so the people of all these areas are closely related and all belong to the ancient Theravada Buddhism.

The Water Festival, as it’s celebrated by the Dai people of the Yunnan province, also exists in neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. In Cambodia there is no water-splashing event, but in all else the New Year festival is very similar. In most areas the water represents a chance to start fresh and in some it is more associated with luck.

www.songkranfestival.net

Share:

Partners:

ThailandGuide24 - travel website
advertise here

Partners:

Thailand Golf Tours
List your Thailand travel business