The Dai Water Splashing Festival: Essay

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There are fifty-six recognized ethnic minorities in China. Each of these groups have specific characteristics and practices that set them apart from one another and draw the attention of non-minority members the world over. It is these unique customs that highlight the histories and mental predispositions of each individual minority group. Unfortunately, a tide of modernization and globalization has swept the globe and is reaching even the must rural areas of developing China. Much of the culture and history that defines the beauty and significance of minority traditions are being lost in a sea of culture quelling progress. The Dai ethnic minority in the Yunnan province offers a perfect example of this disintegration of heritage, especially with respect to their most prominent cultural festival The Water Splashing. By analyzing the history and content of the Dai Water Splashing Festival and how it is connected to the social structure of the Dai minority and then noting the degree to which modernization has destroyed the soul of this cultural event, a clear statement on the negative effect of globalization on minorities can be made. Every year, the Dai people celebrate a colorful and historically rich holiday called the Water-Splashing Festival. The traditions of this festival have been passed down from generation to generation for over 1,300 years and have inherent connections to the Dai people’s religious, agricultural, and courtship customs. The origins of the Water Splashing Festival are rooted in old folk tales that date back to the earliest ancestors of the Dai. These folk tales provide important insight into understanding both the ceremonial practices of the Dai people and the Dai people themselves. According to legend, long, long, ago an evil tyrant took control of the Dai people’s breathtaking and fertile homeland, Xishuangbanna. He ravaged the

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