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Water Splashing Festival


 

Water-Splashing Festival might be the most interesting and merriest of all festivals in China. It is widely celebrated in southern Yunnan by ethnic Dai, Achang, De’ang, Bulang, and Wa groups.


Water-Splashing Festival is the new year of the Dai people, and falls in the middle of the sixth month on the Dai calendar (usually corresponding to the middle of April). At the festival, the Dai people get dressed in their own ethnic attires, and fetch buckets of fresh water, dotted with flowers and green leaves, to cleanse the Buddha statues of dust. After the “bathing Buddha” ceremony, revelries began, in which people splash water onto each other – not just for fun, but as a gesture of “new year greetings”. Buckets, basins, squirt guns, and all kinds of “water weapons” are used. Water is supposed to drive diseases, evils and disasters away. It is said the more water splashed onto your body, the more blessed you will be in the coming year.

 

Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality

Bathing Budda Ceremony

Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality
Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality
Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality
Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality
Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality

Do you know who is this man? Yes, late Premier Zhou Enlai at a Water-Splashing Festival.


In fact, splashing water is only the core event of the new year celebrations. The whole festival lasts for four days. The first day is equivalent to the Han Chinese New Year’s Eve, on which people clean the household and make preparations for the festive events. Boat racing is held and fireworks are lit during the night. The second day, known as Neuter Day, is said to be an independent day belonging neither to the past year nor the new year. The third day is held as the advent date of a legendary god who brings the new year’s calendar from heaven to the people. And the new year begins on the fourth day, when people worship the Buddha and then indulge themselves in the spree of splashing water.


For the young, single people, a match-making game called “throwing pouch” is among the favorite activities. Before the game, girls sew little pouches out of figured cloth and ribbons, which is to be used in the game. Young men and women stand in two queues respectively on an open ground, the two queues facing each other at a distance of thirty to forty paces. Girls observe the young men, and throw the pouches at those who hit their fancy, stirring rounds of cheers from the crowd. The young man who fails to catch the pouch thrown at him will have to present flowers to the girl, inserting them to her hair. With the ribbons flying and cheers roaring, young people are matched and start their romances.

Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality
Water-Splashing Festival of the Dai Nationality

The "Throwing Pouch" Game

 



 

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