Dali Holiday Calendar – February 2014
Chinese New Year – January 31 to February 1
Click here to view our special packages for Chinese New Year 2014. Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday. In China, it is also known as the “Spring Festival”, which is the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve (the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar) to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.
Jizushan Festival – January 31 to February 21
According to legend, Jizushan was “Rooster sitting” place, and the rooster in Buddhism occupies a very important position. Rumor has it that in ancient times, in the East China Sea, there was a rooster on the top of a peach tree on a big mountain. When it sings, the world’s roosters all follow, and they “wake up” the day for the people. The rooster represents light, and Jizushan represents a bright world in Buddhism.
Jingui Temple Local Religious Festival – February 1
The second day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar is the birthday of Prince Sufeng. The residents of Xizhou celebrate his birthday at Jingui temple on this day with a day full of activates. All of the Bai people from the surrounding villages come together wearing costumes to pray.
Inside of the Jin Gui temple you will see a statue of a woman who the Bai people call “Guomu”, and on the right side you will see a statue of their goddess of fertility. Below, you will see six clay figures that are representative of the Six Dynasty (220-559) period in China. Altogether, there are ten gods to pray to during this festival. Outside of the temple there is a cow god, a horse god and a pig god. After celebrating the birthday, the villagers write prayers wishing for good weather, health to animals, development of the people, and peace. This is a time for relatives to get together.
On the next day the villagers have a celebration for the Er River God (Duan Chicheng). People believe that Duan Chicheng was born in an area infested with pythons, so he tied seven sharp knives to his body and killed the snakes, sacrificing himself. Among all of the gods on the Dali plain, Duan Chicheng has the most prestige. Today he stands as the patron of several villages and statues of him can be seen all around the valley.
Sha Village and Xiaogouwei Village Celebration – February 2
On the third day of the first month of the lunar year, the residents of Sha Village celebrate the birthday of a local emperor deity who protected their lands. In Xiaogouwei, the villagers celebrate the birthday of a different deity that was supposedly also an emperor but protected only the borders of the area. Both villages will gather at the same temple to worship. These villages are the most ancient of all the villages in the area. They traditionally have a mystic come to the ceremony and perform rituals in service of the gods.
Gegen Hui – February 4
Gegen Hui is a tradition of the Bai minority. The tradition started from the Tang dynasty. Gegen is actually a kind of plant in Dali area. It has some medicinal uses. Everyone who goes to the Gegen Hui will buy some Gegen to bring back home.
Ling Hui Temple Festival – February 7
This festival takes place on the 8th day of the first month on the Chinese lunar calendar at Ling Hui Temple in Xizhou. The festival commemorates the building of the temple, which was during the Nanzhao era. Legend has it that a Buddhist monk will ride up to the temple on horseback to open and close the temple. The temple has a large bell tower, and when it’s rung, the sound can be heard all the way down to Erhai Lake. This is a time to celebrate Duansiping’s birthday, who is a local mother deity.
Taohuahui – February 8
Taohuahui is also known as “Longhuahui.” It is the ninth day of the first month each year according to the lunar calendar. Legend says it’s the birthday of the Jade Emperor. On this day, people from the Dali area will go to the local Jade Emperor temples to worship.
Zhoucheng Festival – February 13
On the fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar, Zhoucheng village celebrates the local deity Zhao Mulan by offering her sacrifices. On this day, people of all ages will come from neighboring villages to celebrate. The day is generally filled with marches, dances, and singing performances. Boys and girls will have singing contests and hold competitions for who can dress the most extravagantly.
Qing Girl Festival – February 14
The Qing Girl festival is the fifteenth day of the first month on the lunar calendar.
On this day, Bai women gather and donate money, and ask some specific person to make a Qing girl doll, dress her up, and put her on the seesaw. Then they will surround her, dancing and singing. It is said that the Qing girl was a pretty and smart girl. Her parents died when she was very young, and she was forced to be the wife of a local family. She had to work very hard in that family, and was ill-treated by the mother-in-law. One day, she couldn’t take it anymore, so she jumped into the Haiwei River and died.