Skip to main content
Introduction & Highlights

The Dai New Year (Water Splashing Festival) is an important traditional festival for the Dai ethnic minority and other ethnic minorities, and has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.

The annual Dai Water Splashing Festival is here again!

On 15 April, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province will hold the Dai New Year (2024 Water Splashing Festival), where tens of thousands of people will gather at the Water Splashing Square in Jinghong City to celebrate.

People will splash water on each other as a way to exchange blessings and spread joy. At the same time, similar water splashing celebrations will also take place in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and Luang Prabang, Laos. The three cities of China, Laos, and Thailand are celebrating the New Year together, connecting people's hearts and hands to strengthen friendship.

Every year during the Dai New Year celebration, a water fetching ceremony is held. Water is highly respected by the Dai people. Through this ceremony, they emphasize the sacredness and importance of water for everyone to revere it and be grateful for it.

The Water Splashing Festival is a time to receive blessings. The sacred carriers of these blessings are people themselves who put all their good wishes into water before sharing it with others as blessed water for happiness and good fortune in welcoming a brand-new year.

In this year's Jinghong, the water fetching women gather by the Lancang River to fetch holy water. As the Lancang River is considered the mother river of the Dai ethnic minority, it is believed that taking holy water from this river symbolizes purity and beauty.

After the grand and sacred water fetching ceremony, the Dai women bring the holy water from the Lancang River to the venue of the Water Splashing Festival. After the opening ceremony of the festival, the water splashing activities officially begin.

People of all ages and genders dress in festive attire, join guests from afar in singing and dancing, splash each other with auspicious and joyful water, celebrating together for Dai New Year.

On the day of the Water Splashing Festival, various parade performances take place. Local residents wear their traditional ethnic costumes while singing and dancing along their way to reach the festival venue. Dai girls play elephant-foot drums (Xiangjiao Gu) and perform Gaguan Dance. The magnificent parade showcases Mangyang Dance, Guangbang Drumming, and other intangible cultural heritages. Ethnic costumes and palace-style umbrella formations also make stunning appearances. "Ganbai" is an important part of the Water Splashing Festival, where authentic local snacks can be tasted to experience different ethnic flavours.

While enjoying the festival is encouraged, it is important to follow certain rules when participating:

- Avoid wearing light-coloured clothes

- Bring your own slippers, basins or buckets, water guns, raincoats

- For those who want to take photos or videos during splashing activities: protect your devices by using waterproof bags

- Prepare towels and spare clothing (personal belongings should be kept safe)

Recently, in Jinghong City of Yunnan Province, a notice was issued stating that during Water Splashing Festival, certain behaviours are strictly prohibited. Violators will be punished according to relevant laws and regulations:

- Using dirty or polluted water containing stones, glass fragments or itching agents on people

- Blocking vehicles passing by for splashing attacks

- Using high-pressure water guns for spraying

- Any unit or individual using mobile splashing vehicles to splash crowds

This April, come experience a grand celebration with thousands of people at Yunnan's Water Splashing Festival!

Ethnic Minorities




Holding Time