Gongxiang (Elephant Worship) Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority

Chinese Name:耿马县班老乡佤族贡象节
English Name: Gongxiang (Elephant Worship) Festival of Wa Ethnic Minority

The Gongxiang (Elephant Worship) Festival(贡象节) of Wa Ethnic Minority group is held every year at Banlao Town(班老乡) in Cangyuan Wa Autonomous County. Through a series of activities such as “ Elephant ceremony” and “ Worship the Elephant with thousand prayers”, the unique charm of the Wa people’s festival is demonstrated to the world with the theme of protecting animals and our eco system to persuit the sustainable development of coexistence of human and nature.

According to Wa culture, elephant is the symbol of wellbeing,as the earth presents the heart of the elephant , and river as its blood. The complete celebration follows 4 sessions,including invite, greet, worship the elephant and finally farewell to the elephant. The “elephants” displayed are made from bamboos and paper works.

On the day of the event, accompanied with loud and merrily drumming, “elephants” are invited to the Banlao Culture Square(班老乡文化广场) by thousands of Wa people from different local villages. They are dancing and singing together, spraying holy water to each other as blessings for a healthy and abandon year to come.

To the record, “Elephant Worship” is celebrated only by Wa people and it is the only festival concerning the the protection of Asian elephants among the 56 ethnic groups in China. It is listed as the intangible cultural heritage protection of Lincang City in 2005.