Thousand miles for a Festival - Rao Hua Jie

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April 13th 2015
Published: April 16th 2015
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"No idea, road construction, we will travel on the old route!" that I overheard the driver told the passenger before I got on the Baoshan bounded bus in Kunming. It gonna be a long and painful bus trip I guess! Finally after 11 hours journey and a day rest, I carry on for another 5 hrs journey to my destination Mangshi in Dehong Prefecture, where I want to attended the Rao Hua Jie from the Deang people in their village, the date happened to match the Water Festival of the Dai. But without doing those stupid nonsense by splashing bucket after bucket of water to pedestrian, disregard the others like it or not. So I hurried through the danger zone in Mangshi town and heading to Santaishan and stay in the village. Rao Hua Jie is the biggest event for the Deang people in this area, the festival will last 3 to 5 days to praise the Lord Buddha for its grace and mercy, to bathe the Buddha with nectar of the dragon!

Early morning on the festival day people began to prepared and decorated the shrine with the branches and leafs of the pear tree that was collected by the women. 2 wooden dragons with trough run its whole length had been brought out, one through the shrine while the other extended cross-tail to the outside supported by simple scaffold, soon people would come to laid their offering in front of the shrine and fire cracker would blasted. The crowd would then marched up to the main temple, with a brief ceremony and chanting to induced the many Buddha statues from the secret quarter. The parade would lead by elephant drum with villager carried those statue back to the dragon shrine, after another section of chanting and offering, a trip to the nearby water source was required, that was next to the holy tree where people will dance around it with elephant drum. bucket after bucket of water would carried back to the shrine, only the male is allow to pour water in to the dragon's trough, through the wooden body the nectar would sprinkler over the statues seat peacefully inside the shrine. People would kept the water flow for the next few days to bathe the Buddha, and the continuous detour to the water source and the holy tree would carry on, while children ambushed with their water gun and water pellets in small scale attack, suddenly reminded me there was actually an huge water war down the valley in Mangshi that....I was gladly neglected!

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20th April 2015

Hang in there
The road less traveled is worth the 11 hour bus journey. Love to hear more of your impressions, the people you've met along the way and all that is going on.

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