Yunnan Festivals & Events
to See in Yunnan
The wide range of ethnic groups and mix of religious beliefs
has left Yunnan with so many festivals it would be impossible
to list them all here.
Many festivals are based on the Chinese
lunar calendar and so have variable dates that relate to the
new and full moon. The following festivals are celebrated
throughout the province.
Chinese New Year
Like Christmas in the west, this is a time for joyous family
reunions, and exchanging gifts. Elaborate meals are prepared,
and there is an air of continuous celebration which runs through
until the Lantern festival.
Falling on the first day of the Lunar New
Year, sometime between January and February, this is the longest
and most important festival in China. With the exception of
movie theatres and restaurants, most businesses close down
for an entire week.
Evil spirits are said to wander freely at
this time, and used to be kept at bay by thousands of exploding
firecrackers. However, due to injury and fires, this fun has
now been curtailed with the introduction of explosive tape
Dragon Boat Festival
the fifth day of the fifth lunar month a great celebration,
featuring dragon boat races, takes place.
Teams of dragon boats, similar to long canoes,
train for weeks for the colourful and exciting contests.
The day - originally in commemoration of
the great Chinese poet, Qu Yuan, who lived over 2,000 years
ago - is also marked with feasts and music.
Dragon & Lion Dances
Though they were originally used to stop the spread of epidemics,
and to pray for rain, colourful and noisy dragon and lion
dances now form a part of many festivals and celebrations.
Traditional Chinese festivals are an occasion to ward off
evil spirits and enjoy sumptuous feasts with reunited family
It is believed that, on the first day of the seventh lunar month,
ghosts are allowed out to re-enter the world of the living for
one more day of fun. To ensure the spectral visitors enjoy themselves
lavish offerings are made, paper money burned, and colourful
operas performed. The climax is the Chong Yang Festival on the
15th of the month, when Taoist and Buddhist priests conduct
chanting ceremonies for the ghosts and sacrificial feasts are
laid out in temples.
Celebrated on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, this dates
back to ancient China, when people searched for heavenly spirits
by lantern light. This has developed into a full festival
with acrobatic displays, lion and dragon dances, folk art
performances, temple processions, and houses are gaily decorated
with lanterns and coloured streamers.
the harvest moon, on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month,
this festival is marked by family reunions, moon gazing, and
eating traditional moon cakes - a round pastry stuffed with
red bean paste, egg yolk, or fruit.
Pure Brightness Day
In the third lunar month, the Ching Ming Festival is held
to honour ancestors, make offerings, and clean their graves.
Kite-flying, Chinese football, dog races, and other amusements
add to the day's festive feel.