Hainan Festivals

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2014/7/31

Hainan Island in one of the most southern parts of China is known for its rich folk culture, and there are countless unique traditional festivities throughout the year. Under the advocacy of the government, a number of new events and celebrations have gradually developed in Hainan as well. Nowadays, the people of Hainan hold festivals to rejoice almost every month. Besides the traditional New Year's Day (January 1st), Spring Festival (the 1st day of the lunar year), and Hainan International Coconut Festival (the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month) from January to March, there are also the lively Changjiang Mango Festival in May, Tianya Haijiao Mid-Autumn Day in September, Longevity Festival, Huanle (Joy) Festival, Dongjiao Festival, Haijiao Festival, and Tianya Haijiao International Wedding Celebration in October, November, and December.
 

Hainan International Coconut Festival

 
Date: the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month
 
Ever since the first Hainan International Coconut Festival was held in April 1992, it has been a town tradition to celebrate the Hainan International Coconut Festival in late March or early April every year (the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month usually falls during this time) based on the customs of the Li and Miao people. The festival is a comprehensive, large-scale, international commerce and cultural festival that is open to the public. Coconuts are the symbol of the Hainan Province, and during this time, coconut products and delicious coconut-inspired delicacies can be purchased and enjoyed. Visitors can enjoy various performances during the festival, and stay up late into the night taking in the colorful festivities surrounded by music and the beautiful tropical landscape.

Tianya Haijiao Joy Festival

 
Date: the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (Mid-Autumn Day)
 
One per year, a festive evening party unlike any other is held in Tianya Haijiao on the lunar calendar’s Mid-Autumn Day around the theme that “the bright full moon seems to rise from the sea; let’s cherish the present moment no matter where we are from." There are various kinds of activities to enjoy, such as watching the moon in the sky and lanterns on earth, playing the "mountain song game," dance performances, folk lantern exhibitions, snacking on mooncakes, and much more for all ages. Under the bright light of the moon, tens of thousands of lights in Tianya Haijiao also turn on at the same time, illuminating this part of China known as “the furthermost part of the sky and the sea.” Vibrant firecrackers take over the sky in the dark of night, turning this stunning paradise resort town into a real dream.

Nanshan (South Mountain) Longevity Cultural Festival

 
Date: the 9th day of the 9th lunar month (Chongyang Festival in China)
 
According to some, the average life expectancy in Sanya prefecture-level city is the longest in China. During this auspicious festival, people aged over 100 years climb Nanshan (South Mountain) to visit a tablet inscribed with the Chinese character for "Longevity" (written by Queen Cixi, last Dowager Empress of China, in the late 19th century) to put into practice the belief that exercise is the key to a long life. Impressive, large-scale celebratory performances are held in town, and everybody comes out to enjoy the joyful atmosphere. As well, the festival honors and blesses the elders with longevity and good health, and that they should live longer than Nanshan itself.

Tianya Haijiao International Wedding Celebration

 
Date: 18th of November
 
It can be understood why Tianya Haijiao, a remarkable tropical paradise, is the host of a grand annual wedding celebration. Every November 18th, new couples, “golden wedding” (50th anniversary) couples, and “silver wedding” (25 anniversary) couples come from throughout China and around the world to take part in the Tianya Haijiao International Wedding Celebration. The town is known as the “Holy Land of Love” and “the furthermost part of the sky and the sea,” such that the infinite elements of nature can bear witness to eternal love during this beloved celebration. Perhaps most interestingly, elephants are paraded on the streets to bless all the lovely couples seeking joy for the rest of their futures.

Hainan Joy Festival

 
Date: the last 2-3 weeks of November
 
The Hainan Joy Festival is held in late November every year. Combined with the Miss World contest held in Sanya, the festival includes varied and colorful series of activities promoting tourism, recreation, sports, exhibitions, and games. Essentially everybody comes out to celebrate, including hundreds of local celebrities, and the women come out in their best looks. Music and contemporary performances take over the evening, making for a spectacular end-of-the-year celebration.

Huanhua (Exchanging Flowers) Festival

 
Date: the 15th day of the 1st lunar month
 
The large-scale Huanhua Festival is held in Qiongshan city on the evening of the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, kicking off the new year. Long ago when the holiday was a simple folk festival unique to Qiongshan, incense (Huanxiang) was exchanged; these days, participants exchange flowers (Huanhua). Both help to promote fertility and longevity for the offspring of future generations. The joyous activities with much song and dance promote the integration of friendship, happiness, and common welfare.

Junpo Festival

 
Date: the 9th to 19th day of the 2nd lunar month
 
The Junpo Festival, with a history of more than 1,300 years, is held primarily in Xinpo town in Qiongshan city, but also in many other places in the province. The festival lasts for 4 days and is meant to be a sacrifices offering event in honor of Mrs. Xian (513-603) of the Liang Dynasty of The Northern and Southern Dynasties. She was a respected master of strategy and politics and had a vital role in the successful development of Hainan.

The 3rd Day of the 3rd Lunar Month Festival

 
Date: the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month
 
The Li and Miao people both have strong customs for festivity. The 3rd Day of the 3rd Lunar Month Festival is a traditional event during which young Li men and women come out to find love and happiness. The festival coincides with the above-mentioned Hainan International Coconut Festival in late March or early April every year. The area’s rich cultural heritage is put on display, and visitors can partake in gun and archery contests, traditional singing by the older Li generations, and bamboo dances. And of course, the younger people can get their thrills by attracting the opposite gender, then retreating to the mountains and woods to spend time together, a unique Li tradition.

Danzhou Folk Song Festival

 
Date: the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (Mid-Autumn Day)
 
The lunar calendar’s Mid-Autumn Day is not only host to the above-mentioned Tianya Haijiao Joy Festival, but also the Danzhou Folk Song Festival. The festival is marked by singing competitions and games, not to mention the singing of songs in the mountains and the watching of the graceful moon as it moves across the evening sky.

Qixian (The Seventh Fairy) Ridge Water Festival

 
Date: the 7th day of the 7th lunar month
 
According to ancient myths, the seventh fairy in Heaven fell in love with Dongyong, a poor human worker. However, they were separated, but are allowed to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on the Magpie Bridge. This romantic tale has turned this date into s sort of Valentine’s Day in China. In Baoting County where many ethnic minorities live, people splash water over their loved one, expressing their affection thoroughly. Various performances are held in the main square, and there are wedding performance displays of the Li and Miao people, costume exhibitions, the singing of folk songs in pairs, eating of traditional Li and Miao snacks, large-scale choreographed bamboo dancing, and jamborees attended by tens of thousands of people. Furthermore, visitors often enjoy the colorful vehicle parade dragged by cattle, and exploration of the Qixian (Seventh Fairy) Ridge.

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