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Published: April 25th 2013
I never like the Splash Water Festival as I hate to get wet! and...people just pour water over you aggressively in unreasonable mean. but this year I really don't want to stay in Yuanyang as the place getting more ugly and made me very uncomfortable. so...after some searching...I decided to go to Jinggu region where many Dai people resided. guess it should be less crowd and less commercial then in Jinghong. With the new road open up between Honghe and Yuanjiang, I can get to Jinggu in a day. I went up to Xiaojinggu see if anything interest, but the town was rather dull, tea seem the main business, you could see women prepared tea everywhere. in fact...Xiaojinggu was an important trading spot on the old tea-route long time ago...those were the day!!!
I switched to Minle where also lived many Dai people and my festival tour had begin. Actually different villages will celebrated their new year on different date, and would all heading to the main temple in Old Minle village on the 15th of April. I caught one celebration in Damondong village. There was much happening during the day, youngters started water war criss cross inside the village.
until 4pm they would all gether inside the chief house and ate cold noodle, each family would brough offering like...baba, rice and dumpling, monk coming from the main temple here to accpeted the offering. when they hit the drum and gong, people would marched out around the village until they get to the Bodice tree on the edge of the village, sand would be pour underneath the tree and sticked with branch and leaves. villagers then sit around the tree with the monks in the middle, holy script would be recited and one in awhile people would cheer back "sha...sha...", and the ceremony ended with thundering fire cracker explosion. I quietly departed before they could kidnaped me back for rice wine!
Gahu village is about 32km from Minle, only one Dai village in that area with an old temple. I went there hoping to find better ceremony and less crowd. "you should came yesterday(the 1st day)" a woman told me when I arrive Gahu, she said they all went down to the Lancang river to get sand back for the festival, "many boss came from different government offices" she added. well....I guess I was happy to miss that event
yesterday as with govrnment people...there won't be anything interesting! anyways...they would bath the buddha status on the 2nd day, bucket after bucket of water would splashed onto the status, suddenly a guy came up to me and asked if I had took any picture of the status before, I wondered why then he said he had forgot how to dress the buddha back to the way before he took off his clothes to wash. luckily I did got an image that Buddha got his clothes on! The 3rd day was the big day where everyone would came to offered candle in the temple all through the day, drum paraded the village many time asking for water-fun, each round ended with a trip down the river to get more sand and rocks back to build sand dune for offering in the temple, it was a totally wet day! there was no way I could keep myself dry especailly my camera, so...I better packed it up and just went with the parade with an empty hand...no more photo! then...I enjoy it more!!! During the night the chief would lead the chanting inside the temple hall while many others gathered out in the
temple ground for dance and performance. Great atmosphere in Gahu for the festival I would say, people are really friendly there, the surrounding hill were mostly tea plantation which offered great hideout during the hit of war inside the village, I dried myself while waiting for sunset up there.
Yongping was the main Dai community in Jinggu region, they got many great temple with Buddha relices. and the festival would last rather long in this area with people organised "Danfo" mean pay respect to Buddha. Beside the usual water splashing in every street corner, they would organised event in different temple each day, the 1st day a huge parade gathered and marched out to the temple in Daizhai about 1km outside of Yongping town, attracted water splashing out from every direction! and the 2nd and 3rd day in 2 different temple were less crowd with those families that organsied the Danfo would prepared cold-noodle for whoever came to the temple to eat. Guessed I had enough of wet t-shirt day and left for lincang, but...even while in Lincang I ran into another Danfo and got another wet t-shirt!
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