Water Splashing Festival

Water Splashing Festival
Image Courtesy: jaywei80 used under the Creative Commons Licence

April 2015

Xishuangbanna, China

The Water Splashing Festival is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by ethnic people of Xishuangbanna. The celebration goes on for three days, and includes rituals that end in merrymaking, with everyone ending up splashing water on each other. This makes for a very cheerful sight.

The activities on the first two days take place on the banks of the Lancang River. Outdoor markets and stalls are set up, where visitors can pick up souvenirs and feast on local Asian snacks.

Artists make sand carvings on an open space close to the market. On the Lancang River, an exciting dragon boat race is also held. In the dark of the night, the bank of the river is colorfully lit with floating lanterns.

The third day marks the end of the festival. On this day, Dai people wear new clothes and gather at the main Buddhist temple, where Buddhist scriptures are chanted by the monks. After this, a water splashing ritual is observed where a Buddhist statue is brought to the courtyard and then splashed with water. This ritual is known as “Bathing the Buddha”.

Soon, people throng the streets with bottles, pots and pans, and splash water on each other. Dai people consider water as a symbol of purification. Thus, splashing a person with water during the Water Splashing Festival symbolises the desire for prosperity and good luck to that individual.

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