The three- to-four-day Water Splashing Festival is a traditional festival for the Dai people in Xishuangbanna and other places to send off the old and ring in the new, and to wish each other well. Water splashing is featured at this festival as entertainment.
On the eve of the first day of the festival, activities include launching rockets and dragon boat rowing, etc. The second day is known as Neuter Day, which belongs to neither the old nor the new year. On this day, according to the custom, people usually stay at home or go hunting in the mountains.
The third day falls on New Year's day. In the morning, people dress up and go to the temple to worship Buddha. They make three to five pagoda-shaped sand piles over one meter tall and plant eight bamboo twigs on top wrapped in red and green strips. They then sit around the pagodas to listen respectfully to the scripture and historical legends and pray for good weather and many offspring.
In the afternoon, every woman has to carry fresh water to clean the Buddha statue so she might get his blessing. People then splash water on each other to symbolize the blessing, rinsing away sickness and disaster with holy water for a happy life. At night, music accompanied by drumbeats reverberates throughout the villages and people enjoy dancing and singing to their hearts' content.