Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dai people in southwest China enjoy Water Splashing Festival.



People of the Dai ethnic group in southwest China's Yunnan Province are celebrating their annual Water Splashing Festival. Although the Dai people do not dress in their ethnic festival costumes so often nowadays, they are currently doing so to celebrate the year's biggest event on the Dai calendar, which lasts from April 13 to 16 this year. This light-hearted event is one of the most important celebrations in the Dai calendar, and is symbolic of a cleansing ritual to ring in the New Year. It is also the climax of the Dai people's New Year celebrations.

In Xishuangbanna Prefecture's iconic "Water Splashing Square", and on every street and alleyway, everyone, without any inhibitions, drenches their family, friends, and random strangers alike. For the Dai people, the festival helps foster good will among people. "So many people get together. And we all get wet. It feels good," said a local resident. "The water washes away the dust and bad fortune of the past year. So we start the New Year afresh, and everything will go smoothly," said a local Dai woman.

No one is spared, and everything that can hold water is used. "We have a small team of people, and we can't beat the teams with lots of people. They surrounded us and really went hard on us by attacking us with water pistols and buckets of water," said a tourist. The ceremony continues, with everyone shivering in damp clothes, but the spirit is jubilant. "I feel cool from head to toe. But still I'm happy, because it's a sign of goodwill," the tourist said. While water is a symbol of religious purity there, perhaps more importantly, on this particular day, it is a form of all-inclusive merrymaking.

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