Dai Minority - People of Peacock and Water

2015-09-04 02:20:05 Author:culture Source:National culture Browse number:0 Comment 0 A

 Known as the Nation of peacock and water, Dai Minority, an ancient ethnic group in Yunnan Province, China, is a relatively large and prosperous ethnic group with colorful cultures. Since ancient times, people all over the world have always admired the beauty and graceful peacock dance of Dai girls. 
The population of the Dai people is around 1.1 million, with most of them dwelling along the river like Lancang River(澜沧江), Lujiang River(怒江), the Red River (红河), and Jinsha River (金沙江), that’s why Dai Minority’s water culture is rather abundant. The Dai people’s ancestors are Baiyue people(百越) who used to reside in coastal areas. After years of migration, now most of them settle in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture(在西双版纳傣族自治州), the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture(德宏傣族景颇族自治州) in southern Yunnan, China. 
Through years of blending their original culture with foreign cultures and center- china culture, gradually, the Dai People formed their own unique national culture which has attracted millions of tourists of all time.

The Water-splashing Festival

The Water-splashing Festival is a beloved festival which is thought highly of by both residents and tourists. It has long been renowned as “the Oriental Carnival” for its merriness which makes it the most popular festival among the festivals of Yunnan Minorities. Besides, the Water-splashing Festivalis the most solemn festival for Dai Minority, which endows this festival with deep national meanings. 
 The Water-splashing Festival is called "the Oriental Carnival".
The annual Water-splashing Festival falls in the middle of April, and lasts for three or four days. It serves the purpose of celebrating Dai New Year. A lot of activities, such as water-splashing, dragon boat-racing, Kongming Lantern-flying (孔明灯) and cockfighting, are involved in the celebration. Among them, water-splashing is the most significant one. 
Water-splashing is a perfect activity for those who prefer to interact directly with Dai minority. Water- splashing occurs on the first day of the Water-splashing Festival, when the Dai people are all dressed up, and go to the temple to bathe the Buddha with fresh water. Afterwards, they splash, even pour water on one another, tourists and residents are all involved. The scene is quite spectacular. 
The act of pouring water is a kind of religious ritual which offers people blessings and good wishes. In Dai culture, it is widely believed water can wash away bad luck. Therefore, the more heavily a person got splashed, the luckier and more popular he will be in the coming Dai New Year. 
The Water-splashing Festival fully reflects the Dai people’s worship of water.

Dragon Boat-racing
The climax of the festival is dragon boat-racing happening on the third day of the festival. On that day, people gather by the Lancang River(澜沧江) to watch the splendid dragon boat racing. Basically, dragon boats are man-power watercrafts with decorative Chinese dragon head and tail, while, their shape and size varies. The racing rule goes like this, after the whistle is blown, those colorful dragon boats, with dozens of strong rowers on, compete with one another to find out which boat is the fastest.
 The dragon boat is 20 to 25 meters in length with 40 rowers in each side of the boat.


On A: Huanggang Dong Village(黄岗侗寨)

Next article: Sama Festival of Rongjiang County(榕江侗族萨玛节)

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