Home/Features / Festivals /

Year Round Festivals in Pu'er

1. Lahu's Kuzha Festival (the Spring Festival) 

Dates: from the thirtieth day of the twelfth lunar month to the fourth day of the first lunar month (New Year holidays); and the fifteenth day of the first lunar month (Lantern Festival).

Location: Lancang 

Lahu people have the above two holidays during the Spring Festival. The New Year day is on the first day of the first lunar month, and the Lantern Festival is the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. The New Year holidays start from the thirtieth day of the twelfth lunar month and end at the fourth day of the first lunar month for five days. On the thirtieth day of the twelfth lunar month, i.e. the New Year's Eve, every family cooks steamed sticky rice and pound Ciba (a local food made from rice), and the sound of continuously pounding forms a vivid and lively scenery in the villages. After the Ciba is made, people will cut some small pieces from it and put them on farm tools like sickle, axe, hoe, plow, etc. to show their appreciation to the tools for helping people in grain harvest by cutting down trees and ploughing farmlands. Residents in the village will go into the woods nearby to worship the mountain god, hoping the mountain god to continue to bless the village in the coming year, pray for a good harvest of grain and a smooth hunting. At the sunset, the whole family members, men and women, old and young will stand on the doorstep, facing the west and welcoming the souls of the ancestors to come back home for the New Year countdown. 

2. Ximeng Wa's Wooden Drum Festival 

   Dates: April 16 - 18 

   Location: Ximeng 

The "Grey Month" in Wa's calendar (i.e. December in solar calendar) is the time for Wa people to hold the Wooden Drum Dragging activity. The day before the festival, the head and the "Moba" (priest) lead a small group of people to the pre-selected big red tree right in the dark night. After sacrificial offering rites (oblations, ghost expelling, incantations chanting), the "Moba" uses an axe to cut the tree for the first several moves then the other people altogether cut the tree down, on the stump they put three stones as money paid to the tree ghost. Then they cut the trunk into sizes of the needed wooden drums, chisel out drum ears and fasten the drums by rattans.
  The next day early in the morning, all people in the village, from the old to the young, will climb up the hill to drag the wooden drums. The "Moba", holding high up a tree branch, lead people to sing the song of "wooden drum dragging", command and coordinate people in their action. People strew water wine on the ground where the wooden drums is passing through, men dragging the wooden drums will sing and dance along the way, and other people will cheer on for them or send them wine or food. In fact the wooden drums they're dragging are yet semifinished materials, which will be put outside of the entrance of the village for two or three days. Then the "Moba" kills chicken for sacrificial offering, and put the semifinished wooden drums on the ground beside the wooden drum house and hand them over to the carpenters. On this day, men and women dragging the wooden together, it is said to be a good chance to find someone to fall in love with. It takes time for people to drag the drums, sing, dance and play. After the wooden drum is finished and qualified by test beats, people will lift and put them into the wooden drum house, and the celebration continues, the wooden drum dance starts and coordinates with the drum beats. 

3. Menglian Fish Festival 

Dates: during April and May 

Location: Menglian 

The Fish Festival is the most famous tourism event in the Menglian Dai, Lahu and Wa Autonomous County, Pu'er, Yunnan, which have been successfully held for several years, attracting a lot of tourists to pay a special trip. The most attracting activity during the Fish Festival is the "Fish Catching Carnival". The location for fish catching is the water area between the rubber dam and the Longtan Dam on Nanlei River in Hengguan County. The river course of this section is 1,500 m long and 30 m wide, after hours of drainage, the center water level decreases just below the waist of an average man. It starts from the morning, and the bellowing sound of "to...to...to" made by tractors breaks the quietness of the county. People in crowd wearing colorful ethnic clothing come from around, gather and wait on the shore at the bridge head of Nanlei River.

On the festival day, 2 km around the banks of Nanlei River are crowed by people, and every piece of land on the downwards water area is full of people waiting for fish catching. They take off their shoes, roll up their sleeves and trousers. Some even shirtless with eyes "scanning" the water and hands holdin[FS:Page]g various fish catching tools, they are in a second to jump into the river immediately once the order for fish catching is made. 

4. Wa's New Rice Festival 

Dates: from the thirteenth to the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month 

Location: Ximeng 

      Every fourteenth day of the eighth lunar month is the traditional New Rice Festival, men and women of Wa people in new festival clothing with a lot of feature food (new rice, steamed sticky rice, cooked chicken rice, bamboo worm, tilefish, yellow fruit, etc.), packed by red thread for themselves or for the guests. On this day all people in the village gather on the village square for traditional activities including "cattle slicing for sacrificial offering", new grain celebration, new rice eating, bullfight, wrestling, hunting, wooden drum dragging etc. In the evening, they light bonfires, beat wooden drums, fire celebration salvo, blow lusheng, bamboo flute, play the three-string sanxian, traditional wooden drum dance, hair-swing dance and singing carnival activities. In addition the young, taking advantage of this festival day, look for companion and spread love, wishing for everlasting relationship. The carnival goes overnight in dancing and singing, food tasting, drinking to celebrate harvest and to "communicate" with the heaven, and to pray for good crop weather, safety of human and animals and good harvest for the next year. These activities during the New Rice Festival generally last for three days. 

5. Lahu's Calabash Festival

Dates: from fifteenth to seventeenth day of the tenth lunar month

Location: Lancang 


Lancang Lahu Autonomous County in Pu'er is the only Lahu autonomous county in the country. Lahu nationality has many festivals including the Spring Festival, the Torch Festival, the New Rice Festival, the Kana Festival etc., among them the Calabash Festival is the most representative and typical one with unique cultural charm.
  The Calabash Festival, in Lahu language called as "A-Peng-A-Long-Ni", held on the fifteenth day of the tenth lunar month, is the grandest festival in Lancang's Lahu nationality. On that day, every village will held carnival for singing and dancing, men playing the calabash sompoton to lead the dance, men and women taking up "Gak" dance, women beating the elephant-foot drum and taking up waggle dance, men and women singing folk songs for battle, and also there are sports and games performance like swinging, water bearing, whipping top and crossbow shooting. The old will sit around the firepit, drink and chant the epic "Mu-Pa-Mi-Pa". Right in the center of the dancing ground, a pair of calabash will be put there as a symbol of the Lahu ancestors, and everyone expresses respect for it to keep in mind the grace they obtained from their ancestors. 

6. Pu'er Tea Festival 

Dates: generally in April 

Location: Simao 

 Since the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods, Pu'er tea has been listed into the national drinks. Nowadays Pu'er tea is developing rapidly as popular drink for the public and a carrier of Chinese traditional culture. Pu'er tea has a history of several thousands of years. The establishment of "Chinese Tea Festival" aims at two purposes: one is to protect and carry forward the Chinese tea culture, the other is to introduce Pu'er to the world!   
Since the establishment, the Chinese Pu'er Tea Festival has been held for 18 years, and during its development course, China Tea Festival has become an international, open, public welfare event in tea industry, which has played a positive role to carry forward the Pu'er tea culture, to promote Pu'er tea's popularity and recognition, to promote the rapid development of Pu'er tea industry, and to promote the harmonious development of the economic society in ethnic regions at the border area. The rise of China Pu'er Tea Festival drives the economic development of Pu'er tea, and makes it more popular. In the past China, Pu'er Tea Festival events, countless tea enterprises and ethnic tourism commodity enterprises in Yunnan province repeatedly participated in the Pu'er tea trade fair, clothing, accessories and tourism product sales activities, with total sales amounting to hundreds of millions of yuan, which realized the organic combination of the ethnic culture, the tea industry and the tourism industry. 

China Pu'er Tea Festival has promoted the communication of Pu'er tea culture in large extent, and has enriched the cultural connotations of Pu'er tea. Taking China Pu'er Tea Festival as a platform, Pu'er tea wins a wide range of recognition from the consumers, and becomes a world famous drink. At the same time Pu'er tea walks through the eras of "agricultural Pu'er[FS:Page] tea" and "cultural Pu'er tea" into the era of "scientific Pu'er tea".   

China Pu'er Tea Festival, with aims of "scientific Pu'er tea, healthy life", themed as "the world of tea source, China tea city, Pu'er tea capital", will comprehensively and systematically demonstrate the development course of "agricultural Pu'er tea, cultural Pu'er tea, scientific Pu'er tea, humane Pu'er tea" and colorful original primitive culture, concentrate on promotion of innovative products of scientific Pu'er tea projects and non-material cultural heritage, promote and release Pu'er tea scientific research and innovation achievements by vigorously promoting the "ecological, harmonious, charming" Pu'er tea, demonstrating the scientific research achievements of Pu'er tea, carrying forward the Pu'er tea culture and ethnic tourism culture and promoting Pu'er tea to the world.  

7. Ning'er County Tea-Horse Road Festival 

Dates: October

Location: Ning'er 

Tea-Horse Road Festival is conducive to inheriting and carrying forward the historical culture. Ning'er is the core source area of and distribution center for the world famous "Pu'er tea", the "seat of government for ancient Pu'er", the origin of the Tea-Horse Road. The industrious and intelligent Ning'er ancients, after a long period of planting, cultivating and processing tea trees on the land of Ning'er for thousands of years, has explored the unique Pu'er tea processing technology, which formed the historical brand of Pu'er tea being famous both domestically and abroad. To race to the source, the root of Pu'er tea lies in Ning'er, thus the root of Pu'er tea culture also lies in Ning'er. Pu 'er tea is named after the seat of Pu'er government, and has become spread and world-famous through the Tea-Horse Road.

Pu'er tea originated in the Eastern Han Dynasty, entered into trades in the Tang Dynasty, got popular in the Song Dynasty, stereotyped in the Ming Dynasty, and prospered in the Qing Dynasty. Over three hundred years ago, the seat of Pu'er government became a tribute tea under an imperial edict, then became "famous in the capital". As Pu'er tea became a tribute tea and for the sake of foreign trade, in the Ming and Qing dynasties, five "Tea-Horse Roads" were opened, starting from Ning'er to domestic and foreign destinations, which connected Ning'er with the world.

For hundreds and thousands of years, it carried a strong Pu'er tea culture and ethnic culture, blended the world culture and the spirit of human civilization, making the Pu'er tea culture and Ning'er ethnic culture walk out towards the country, towards the world along with the years passing by. To this end, vigorously promoting the Pu'er tea culture, carrying forward the spirit of Tea-Horse Road, is the desire of carders and masses of all ethnic groups in Ning'er. 

8. Jiangcheng Parcel-throwing Festival 

Dates: October

Location: Jiangcheng 

The predecessor of parcel herein is sachet, which is a body carrying decoration for girls. Girls made this little sachet from various cloth, and inside they will put grass seed, tree seed, grain and spice, seam at the boundary with a thread of silk and spike. Finally they seam a long silk thread at one corner of the sachet for hanging it on the body. When girls pass by your side, you will smell that fragrance from mountains and plains. 

With a blend of various ethnic nationalities, the parcels get enriched both in style and connotation. You can see them in diamond, circular, heart shape etc. And they get names as purse, sachet or embroider bag etc. Girls, with their exquisite embroidery craft, weave their love for lovers on the bag, making the parcel a faith token between lovers.
Especially for Yi people who live in Jiangcheng, on the second, fifteenth and sixteenth days of the first lunar month, the unmarried ones in Yi nationality will gather on the parcel-throwing spot. Any of the young guys will be looking for the parcel-throwing, hoping to catch the parcel threw by the girl he likes. And in reverse, any of the girls will be also looking for it, hoping the young guy she likes can catch her parcel.
"First throw for the girl to see the guy, second throw for the guy to see the girl, third throw for the girl to show her choice, fourth throw for the guy to show his choice, fifth throw for the girl to make decision, sixth throw for the guy to make decision, seventh and eighth throws for the two to become a couple, ninth and tenth throws for the two to accompany each other." Parcels will be threw back and forth, and couples will be made by the parcels' course. 

9. China · Mojiang Tropic of Cancer International Twin[FS:Page] Festival 

Date: May

Location: Mojiang River 

 Twins from all over the world will come together to Mojiang, Yunnan in every May, to experience the local folk culture and the ethnic customs, to have a glimpse of the battle of twins, to enjoy the "Mohei" carnival of Hani ethnic group, to taste the local culinary feast, and to encounter the ecological paradise in Mojiang.