Dali City Festivals and Events
As the prominent nationality inhabited in Dali region, Bai ethnic minority created brilliant culture and customs, among which the unique traditional festivals of Bai people enjoy good fame and attract tourists home and abroad to visit.
The festival of Raosanling (Visiting Three Spirits)
Each year, on the 23rd day of the fourth lunar month, the people don festival clothes, carry willow branches, rattle sticks in their hands, blow whistles from tree leaves, pluck three-stringed instruments and beat octagonal drums as they proceed to the three temples.
March Street Festival (Sanyuejie)
The March Street Festival is one of the most magnificent festivals of the Bai Ethnic Group in Dali, Yunnan. It falls in mid-“March” (the third month) on Chinese lunar calendar (often corresponding largely to April on the Gregorian calendar). The fair usually lasts for around a week at the foot of the Cangshan Hill and people trade during the daytime, and indulge themselves in singing and dancing performances at night. Folk sports like archery, horse racing, and ball games are played too.
Bai Torch Festival
Different from the Yi people, the Bai ethnic Torch Festival takes place one day later, i.e. on 25 lunar June. It is held to commemorate the fiery foundation of the Nanzhao kingdom. On that day, local people will dress up, ladies will be painted red nails to celebrate the big day for blessing peace and warding off illness. In Dali, every Bai village makes a huge Torch on which are hung assorted sacrifices such as candies and fruits. The Buddhists will chant in front of the Torch to exorcise and pray for good luck and bumper harvest for villagers.
Open- Sea Festival
Time: September 28 (reference, change in time every year.)
The young people respectfully carried the statue of the Lord above the altar to the sea and boarded the boat. Several hundred fishing boats patrolled the sea and started fishing. During the event, there were folklore performances such as the Dragon Boat Race and the Bai Nationality Songs of the Bai Nationality. Visitors can also visit specialty workshops such as milk processing, shipbuilding, Bai embroidery, and local specialty foods.
Gegen Meeting (Kudzu Root Meeting)
Gegen Meeting is held on January 5th in lunar calendar in the Three Pagodas of Dali. It’s for kudzu roots exchange and pagoda visit. Various snacks and small articles are served on the meeting, too.
During the fesitival, the Bai people will dress their best clothes, gathering near the Erhai Lake, taking boats, singing folk songs. The atmosphere is as exciting as Chinese New Year. They also held the grand Dragon Boat Race. Recent years, more and more minorities have joined this festival. It's held on July 23rd of lunar calendar in Shangguan and Xizhou areas.