Shaxi Ancient Town Festivals and Events
There are many festivals in Shaxi Ancient Town, most of which are relative to Buddhism and Taoism, a unique religion in China. The main inhabitants are Bai, Yi, Lishu, Naxi and Han people. Bai ethnic groups take up the dominant part of the whole population.
Taizihui is the biggest event and celebrated on the 8th day of the 2nd lunar month to commemorate the day that Sakyamuni become a monk. The festival lasts around half a month since Feb 1st and the activities are held in Sifang Street. Feb 8th is the most bustling day during the time. Locals will parade around the Sideng street, carrying the buddha statue of Sakyamuni.
Market day is the highlight in Shaxi valley when everybody congregates in the old town to stock up on produce and exchange gossip. Rows of traditionally dressed Bai matriarchs squeeze together along the kerbside to offer a wide range of local fruit and vegetables, grown with their very own green thumbs. Yi womenfolk in bright scarlet and bold turquoise, trek for hours down from their mountain villages to trade with the lowlanders, making for one of the most colorful and photogenic market days in Yunnan. To the left of the main street is the meat market, where you can find freshly made goats cheese, cow bells and craftsman made horse tackle. In the wet market, on the right hand side, visitors can find a whole range of unusual local fruit and veg, from skirret and lotus bulbs, to quince and custard apples. Traveling vendors fill the main street, hawking everything from farm tools to fruit trees. Look out for wig makers that buy hair by the kilo (cut and weighed in situ), pavement dentists, and itinerant Han Chinese cheapjacks trying desperately to flog the latest in labor saving devices. Up beyond the minibuses, do not forget to check out the livestock market where piglets, nanny goats and even water buffalo are all available for inspection and purchase. Do not forget to stock up with apples and carrots, as this will ensure that you will quickly be able to make fast friends with any goats, donkeys and ponies that you encounter while out hiking.
A major festival for the Bai and the Yi minorities around Shaxi, it is held every year on the 25th day (24th for the Yi people) of the 8th month on the lunar calendar. The local villagers will light torches and big barn fires everywhere, and dance and sing around the fires. The Gregorian calendar dates for Taizihui Holiday from year 2010 to 2015 are: August 5 (2010), September 22 (2011), October 10 (2012), September 29 (2013), September 18 (2014), October 7 (2015)
Besides the above festivals and events, Benzhu Fair of Bai Ethnic Group is also the popular festival in Shaxi Ancient Town.