|Dai nationality has a population of over 840,000 , They live mainly in Xishuangbanna known as “Land of Peacocks ” and Dehong Prefectures in which people believe in Hinayana of Buddhism.
Dai people have a long history. They are characteristic of a gentle disposition. They are good-looking and you will be amazed to find that even in a remote area every woman wear beautiful make-up. They have been long well- known for their dancing skill. Most of Dai villages are built along rivers with thatch bamboo houses.
The Water Splashing Festival, held by the Dai Nationality in the sixth month of the Dai calendar (in the middle of April), is the grandest ceremonial occasion for the Dai. It is also known as the festival for bathing Buddha. The festival is related to the Buddhist legend of dragon sprinkling fragrant showers on Lord Buddha at his birth. The Buddhist legend has gradually been mingled with the customs of the Dai people since their conversion to Buddhism. At noon, women carry two buckets of water on a shoulder pole and sprinkle Buddha status so as to get rid of the dust. The men and women, old and young all carry buckets or basins, splashing water over each other. Water splashing means expressing best wishes and respect. It is thought that splashed is an honor and can wash away all dirt and fifth accumulated all the year. More slashing, more blessing, much happier one gets. While sprinkling, thousands of people dance in time and music, shouting “water, water”.
Currently, the festival is a combination of the Flower Collecting Festival and the Water Splashing Fair. Other Dai legendary elements have been added to it, including the folklore of “seven beautiful Dai women getting rid of the fire fiend” and so on.
At present, Water Splashing Festival is a traditional festival for the Dai people in Xishuangbanna and other places to celebrate Dai Calendar New Year, and to give best wishes to each other. The festive activities include bathing Lord Buddha, sprinkling water onto each other for good fortune, dragon boat racing, launching rockets and the Kongming Lantern, going to the fair, etc. Young girls dance the Peacock Dance accompanied by the elephant leg drums. Young boy and girl throw a finely embroidered purse to the person he or she is in love.