March Street Festival (March Fair): A Traditional Festival of Bai People in Dali
Bai People's March Street Festival
Bai People's March Street Festival is famous as a meeting of various goods communication and a traditional festival in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in the northwest of Yunnan Province. It is held from 15th to 20th of the 3rd month in Chinese lunar calendar every year. The festival is one of the most magnificent festivals of Bai people with a lot of celebrations. The celebrations are held just outside the west gate of Dali Ancient City.
It was a religion activity at the beginning, and then turned into a goods communication meeting. Businessmen from Sichuan, Tibet, and the south of China head here to take part in the meeting since the Ming and Qing Dynasty. It was a great place for not only goods in ancient time, but also a series of activities including dances, horse racing and other activities.
Origin of March Street Festival
The March Fair is also named Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) Fair. According to legend, in the Kingdom of Nanzhao, Goddess of Mercy would give a sermon on March 15th of the lunar calendar. Thus, at this period, local devotees to the Buddha would put up a shed and chant sutras, worshipping the Goddess of Mercy. At that time, March street became a temple fair for giving sermon and worshipping. As Dali enjoyed convenient transportation and there were a large number of devotees to the Buddha in ancient Yunnan, the temple fair gradually become a fair for trade and gathering in south Yunnan.
Legend of March Street Festival
According to legend, there used to be a tyrant who expected physical immortality. One of his attendants told him that he could live forever if he ate eyeballs of two persons each day. The tyrant followed took the attendant at his word, which brought a serious disaster to local people of the Bai ethnic minority. In order to help local people to get rid of the disaster, a brave and young man with miraculous power tried to ask the tyrant to go to the foot of Mount Zhonghe of Mount Cang by cheat. Then the brave young man let a divine dog to bite off the tyrant's throat and suck his blood to death. In memory of this brave man and in celebration of the special day, people of the Bai ethnic minority would gather together at the foot of Mount Zhonghe from March 15 to 21st of the lunar calendar, singing and dancing. Year after year, the March Fair is formed.
Top things to do in Dali
Shaxi Ancient Town
Shaxi Ancient Town is a less-touched quiet old town on the Ancient Tea Route. It has a more than 2400 years old history. Here travelers can experience an original countryside journey far away from bustling city.
It played an import role on the Ancient Tea Horse Route to enhance communication between inland and Tibetan area in the Tang Dynasty. There are a lot of well preserved ancient houses, ancient stages, Yujin Bridge and Xingjiao Temple to explore. It is a great place as a countryside photography destination in Yunnan. The town is situated on the way between Dali Ancient Town and Lijiang Ancient Town. >> more details
- Location: Shaxi Ancient Town, Jianchuan County, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province
- How to get there: Travelers can take regular buses in Xiaguan North Bus Station(下关汽车北站) to Jianchuan County(剑川县) and transfer a bus to Shaxi Ancient Town.
Located in the west of Erhai Lake, Mt. Cangshan（also called Diancangshan）is one of top 4 attractions in Dali. It is famous for its cloud, snow, spring and stones. Mt. Cangshan in summer is one of top 4 sceneries in Dali Ancient Town. On the way to Mt. Cangshan, travelers can see the Dali Ancient Town in a full view. Cloud around Mt. Cangshan is changeable, and Wangfu Cloud (Waiting for Husband Cloud) and Yudai Cloud (Jade Belt Cloud) are the most famous. >> more details
- Address: Sanxianshi in Eryuan County, Yangbi County and Dali County(大理市、漾濞县、洱源县三县市)
- How to get there:
Take Bus 4 or 19 and get off at Boai Lukou(博爱路口) and Dali South Gate(大理南门)
As one of the 7 biggest fresh water lakes in China, Erhai Lake stands Dali's beautiful scenery. As shaped like a people's ear and as big as boundless sea, the lake gets its name-Erhai Lake. It is the largest highland lake close to Dianchi. The lake is an extremely beautiful in sunny days and Bai local villages around the lake are still original. Moon on the Erhai Lake is one of top 4 sceneries in Dali since ancient time.
Erhai Lake cruise is a popular activity to see the great lake and experience local Bai people's folk and culture. Besides, travelers can rent a bicycle to ride around the lake to explore local people's life. To ride a bicycle is extremely popular among young visitors in Dali. >> more details
- Address: In the northeast of Dali city
- How to get there: Bus 4 and 8 are available to Erhai Lake.
Dali Ancient City
Dali Ancient City was built in 1382 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Nowadays, travelers still can view the magnificent city wall which has been one of top historical cities in China since 1982. Here travelers can see traditional Bai People's folk houses and have a bite of Dali ancient kingdom. Together Erhai Lake in the west and Cangshan Mountain in the west, Dali Ancient City is a must-visit destination for travelers in Dali.
There are several Bai People's festivals held around March and April which are better time to experience local people's culture and custom.
- Address: Cangping Street, Fuxing Road, Dali(大理复兴路苍屏街)
- How to get there: Bus No. 4 and 8 can reach Dali Ancient City with a 40-min journey.
Chongsheng Three Pagodas
Chongsheng Three Pagodas is a symbol Buddhism of ancient Nanzhao kingdom (738-937) and Dali kingdom. With a more than 1800 years old history, the 3 pagodas form a symmetrical triangle. Together with its lake in front of 3 pagodas, the scenery is a symbol of Dali. At the foot of Cangshan Mountain, Chongsheng Three Pagodas is facing Erhai Lake. Climbing up to the highest building, travelers can have a full view at Dali folk houses and Erhai Lake. And Chongsheng Three Pagodas is one of the most popular destinations in Dali.
- Address: Sanwenbi Village, North Gate of Dali Ancient City (大理古城北门三文笔村)
- How to get there:
It's only a 10-minute walk from Dali Ancient City. Bus 4 or 8 are available from Xiaguan (Dali's modern city) with an about 40-minute journey, which is 1.5 RMB.
Xizhou Town is a traditional Bai people's village. The town has a lot of well-preserved Bai houses since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Here, travelers can have a taste of Three-Course Tea of Bai ethnic minority which is a tea for honored guests and see their unique dances in the village. It is a great place for photographers and ethnic culture lovers from the world.
Yang Shiyun's 7-chi Book House built in the Ming Dynasty, Yang Yuan Courtyard and Zhao Tingjun Courtyard in Qing Dynasty and Yan Zizhen Courtyard and Yang Pingzu Courtyard during the Republic of China are the representative of the Bai houses.
- Address: 18 miles in the north of Dali Ancient City
- How to get there: There are coaches at Cangshan Mountain (West Gate) to Xizhou Ancient Town.
Tailor-make a Trip to Dali
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