The Dai Water Splashing Festival

Everyone has heard of the common Chinese festivals; Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), Tomb Sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival. But how about lesser-known festivals in China?

Today, we look at the Water Splashing Festival! 泼水节 | Songkran

“At the Water-splashing Festival each year, splash whoever you think worthy.”

Dai Saying

The water splashing festival is the most important festival for the Dai people of Yunnan province in China’s southwest. Celebrated in several south Asian countries including Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, the festival is also known as Songkran.

The water splashing festival marks the new year according to the solar calendar – when the sun moves into Aries. The new year happens over three days. This year, April 13th is the last day of the old year, when the sun actually moves into Aries.

April 14th is a transitional day, and the 15th is the first day of the new year.

Water is an important part of the festival, being closely associated with blessings and purity in Dai culture. On the first two days dragon boat races are held on the Lancang (Mekong) River during the day, and at night lanterns are floated on the water and fireworks are set off.

On the third day, people dress up in new clothes and go to a Buddhist temple to attend a ceremonial washing of a Buddha statue. Afterwards people sprinkle each other, and also the monks, with water to symbolise blessings.

Over time this tradition has become more boisterous, with people now going into the streets with bowls and pans to douse each other, even strangers, with water.
The wetter you get the more blessings you’ll have in the new year!

And that’s the Water Splashing Festival! Is it something you have experienced for yourself before? Or is this the first time you have heard of the Dai people’s celebration? If you haven’t heard of it before, is it something you’d like to check out? Let us know in the comments below. Have a question about anything Cultural Keys related? Use the contact form at the bottom of the page. However you choose to get in contact, we always love hearing from you!

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Are you interested in learning more about the traditional culture of China, and perhaps experiencing it for yourself?  Since 2013, Cultural Keys Chinese Culture Centre has been helping people doing exactly that.

Through our provision of content, classes, information and services, Cultural Keys helps people access, understand and experience the traditional culture of China, from kung fu to calligraphy, feng shui to painting. Click here to read more about Cultural Keys and what we can do for you, your school, company or organisation to help you get more out of your time in China.

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