Dai nationality has a population of over 840,000 , They live mainly in Xishuangbanna known as " Land of Peacocks " and Dehong Prefectures in which people believe in Hinayana of Buddhism.
Dai people has a long history. They are characteristc of a gentle disposition. They are good-looking and you will be amazed to find that even in a remote area every woman wear beautiful make-up. they have been long well- known for their dancing skill. Most of Dai villages are built along rivers with thatch bamboo houses.
The Water Splashing Festival is the new year in the Dai Calendar. It is held on April 13 to 18 once a year. It is similar to Thailand's Songkran, three days of unbridled festivities in which everybody gets doused with water.
The Water Splashing Festival is the grandest ceremonial occasion for the Dai, the De'ang and the Achang nationalities who believe in Theravada Buddhism. It is also known as the Festival for bathing Lord Buddha. The festival is related to the Buddhist legend of dragon sprinkling fragrant showers on Lord Buddha at his birth. The Buddhist legend has gradually been mingled with the customs of the Dai people since their conversion to Buddhism.
At present, the Water Splashing Festival is a traditional festival for the Dai people in Xishuangbanna and other places. On that day, Dai people splash water on each other to celebrate the New Year. Water is the symbol of holiness, goodness and brightness. Dai people regard water as the god of life on which everything depends to live and grow. Water Splashing Festival usually lasts three or four days. People take part in the rowing dragon-boat race, launching Gaosheng (a kind of mini rocket) and fire lamps. Young boys and girls throw colorful pouches to each other for expressing their mutual love. Water splashing is the most exciting of all. People splash water onto each other as a symbol of benediction. The more water one is splashed with, the bigger benediction he receives.
Xishuangbanna, an ancient and mysterious, beautiful and colorful land displays its charisma to you like a green peacock dislaying its fine tail feathers. You will be intoxicated by its sight and nationality customs when you visit
The completion of the 'Bathing the Buddha' ritual serves as the signal that encourages ordinary mortals to themselves engage in mutual water splashing. Accordingly, people flock to the streets with pots, pans, bottles, or whatever, where they uninhibitedly splash, spray and douse each other with water, with the same gusto with which Westerners engage in a good snowball free-for-all.
The Water Splashing ceremony, however, is more than just good-natured fun; it also contains a religious element: water is regarded by the Dai as a symbol, firstly, of religious purity, but also of goodwill among people. Therefore, splashing a fellow human being with water during the Water Splashing Festival, whether a close neighbor or a fellow villager, or even a stranger, is an expression of the desire for good luck and prosperity to that person.
For the tourist interested in interacting directly with the Dai ethnic minority of Xishangbanna Prefecture in an informal and fun-filled manner, the annual Water Splashing Festival that takes place in the month of April is the perfect occasion. China Highlights offers a special tour to the city of Jinghong each year to coincide with the Dai ethinic minority's annual Water Splashing Festival.