With the largest number of people joining in, the water-splashing festival is the greatest and most influential festival in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan. Celebrated on April 13-15, 2014, the festival marks the beginning of the New Year in traditional Dai calendar.
In the morning, a solemn and mysterious ceremony of washing figures of Buddha will be held. Then a "water fight" will begin with people dressed in colorful ethnic costumes pouring water to each other to wash away the disease and disaster. Ethnic cultural performances will also be given in the main urban area on April 13 or 14, providing a good opportunity to watch wonderful performances and learn the Dai culture. In the evening, people will join in the bonfire party and play local dance hand-in-hand.
The most spectacular and exciting activity, the dragon-boat racing, will be held on the third day when costumed Dai people will get together beside the Lancang River and watch colorful boats racing. There are also many other interesting activities to be held, such as dancing the elephant-foot drum dance and peacock dance, piling sand, floating river lanterns, lighting up Kongming lanterns, etc.
1. Avoid taking along large amounts of cash, cellphone, camera or electronic equipment; if necessary, put them into waterproof bags beforehand.
2. Avoid wearing extremely thick or transparent clothes. Comfortable beach shoes and short trousers are recommended.
3. Take along a long-sleeved T-shirt in case of sunburn.
4. Water used to pour onto others shall be clean.
5. Do not pour water with a high-pressure or powerful water gun.
6. Do not pour water onto polices on duty, cameramen, pregnant women, disabled persons, etc.
Similar to the Songkran festival in Thailand, the water-splashing festival is really an exciting and meaningful event. If you plan to visit Yunnan in mid-April, don’t miss this chance to join in the festival to have good fun with water and learn unique Dai culture.