It just so happened that in April that year, on the exact days that we had our trip, was the water splashing festival of the Dai people. The festival lasts three days and culminates in a free-for-all of locals running through the streets with water guns, spraying anyone and everyone. From apartments above, buckets of water rain down on unsuspecting citizens. Water flies out of doorways onto those running by.
The holiday is more than a water fight, however. The festival marks the new year for the Dai. For the first two days, they don their best traditional clothing and go with their families to temples and monasteries. They symbolically pour water over their own, and each other's, heads in order to wash away past transgressions and start the year anew. We were lucky enough to participate in one such cleansing. The monastery we visited rented traditional clothing to visitors. We joined the ceremony with dozens of Chinese. It was a beautiful experience. The Chinese are very proud of their traditions and happy to share them with others.
I never know what surprises we will encounter on our trips to China, but there are always unexpected wonders awaiting. Join me on a trip to China to uncover the surprises!