Christmas the Dali Way

In addition to our traditional Christmas dinner and mulled wine in the Linden Centre, we celebrated the Christmas holiday in a very Dali way, a battle.


Of course it wasn’t a real battle, but a battle with “flying snow” spray that comes out of an aerosol can like foamy shaving cream. A few cans spray silly string which can hit people from a very long distance. It has been a tradition for Dali to have this snow fight for many years. Yunnan enjoys a mild weather all year round. To compensate for the fact that there was no snow at Christmas, people took to the streets armed with spray cans of fake snow and strange protective costumes for the craziest street party in Yunnan.


Late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, with some of our guests and staff, we set off to Dali Old Town. When we arrived there were many vendors selling Christmas gifts, as well as cases of foam spray. For the locals, the celebration has nothing to do with the religious side of Christmas, but is a time for fun and a little mischief. Early in the evening the street was still quiet and the businessmen were busy setting up the boxes of spray cans. Yet somehow, we felt the tension of an upcoming battle.


After a great dinner with Linden Centre staff and guests, we dressed up ridiculously with masks, sunglasses and rain jackets. Everyone had their own style, and the costumes were very amusing. The battle erupted after dark. Nobody was safe, and everybody sprayed everybody with foam. Even the policemen could not escape. Well-equipped in our masks and rain jackets, we still found ourselves in total chaos.  Naughty kids sprayed foam all over your body as you ran out of foam ammunition. After about an hour, we quickly hid ourselves in the Bad Monkey bar and enjoyed a relaxed conversation while we watched the melee on the street.


When we headed back early to Xizhou, the party in Dali Old Town was still going on, and continued until midnight. The air smelled like the washing powder and the road became a huge parking place, we were not going anywhere yet. And the cars themselves were just slow moving targets for the foam spray of partiers.


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