Ethnic Minority Festivals

China is a large country with 55 ethnic minorities. There are public holidays celebrate by certain ethnic minorities in certain regions, which are decided by local governments. It is estimated that more than 1,200 of the 1,700 Chinese festivals belong to ethnic minorities. All these traditional ethnic minority festivals are regarded as indispensable components of the minorities’ customs. Ethnic festivals are always fulled with beautiful legends and featured activities to celebrate. Below are some major ethnic minority festivals celebrated in China widely. 

Popular Ethnic Festivals in China

Holiday Name Date Celebrated by
Double Third Festival the third day of the third lunar month in Chinese calendar Zhuang, Yao, Dong, Miao, Buyi, etc
Water-Splashing Festival April 13–15 Dai
Torch Festival 24th to 27th of the sixth lunar month Yi, Bai, Naxi, etc.
Nadam Fair July or August Mongolian
Shoton Festival the last day of the sixth month in Tibetan Calendar  Tibetan
Tibetan New Year 1st day of Tibetan year Tibetan
Corban Festival 10th of December of Islamic calendar Hui, Uygur, Kazak, etc
Lusheng Festival the first month or the ninth month in lunar calendar Miao, Dong
Sisters’ Meal Festival 15th day of the third month in the lunar calendar Miao
Knife-Pole Festival 2nd day of the second lunar month Lisu
End of Ramadan The beginning of the tenth month on the Islamic calendar Hui, Uygur, Kazak, etc

1. Double Third Festival

Date3rd day of the 3rd lunar month
Place: Guangxi
Celebrated by: Zhuang, Yao, Dong, Miao, Buyi, etc
Activities: Singing, Dancing

Double Third Festival is a traditional festival of many ethnic groups in China, among which the Zhuang nationality is the typical one. In ancient times, young men and women of the Zhuang nationality gathered in the streets singing happily and gathered by the river for a banquet. During the festival people would cook  five-colored rice and colorful eggs to eat and celebrate. It is not only a traditional spring outing festival, but also an important day for the Zhuang people to worship their ancestors, Pangu and Buluotuo. People in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have 3 days off. More about Double Third Festival.

2. Nadam Fair of the Mongolian

DateJuly or August
Place: Inner Mongolia
Celebrated by: Mongolian
Activities: wrestling, horseracing, archery, etc

Naadam Festival is Olympic Games of Mongols and held in the most enjoyable and festive month of July or August. It is the only one of its kind, which is a sophisticated and eloquent expression of nomadic culture. It is also the celebration of a national independence, and an outstanding combination of arts and sports. The wrestling, horseracing and archery are the top three sports during the festival. It is not only sports game including art, tricks, tactics but also ethic and cultural performance such as singing, dancing, traditional costume, parade, etc. More about Nadam Fair of the Mongolian

3. Shoton Festival in Tibet

Datethe last day of the sixth month in Tibetan Calendar 
Place: Lhasa, Tibet
Celebrated by: Tibetan
Activities: Great Buddha Display, Tibetan Opera Show and Horsemanship & Yak Race Show

Shoton Festival, commonly known as the Yogurt Festival, is a great festival in Tibet, starting on the last day of the sixth month in Tibetan Calendar and lasting for a few days. It is one of the most popular traditional festivals in Tibet and an annual festival held at Norbulingka in Lhasa, Tibet. It began in the 16th century with a banquet given by the lay people for the monks featuring yogurt. The beautiful grounds of the Norbulingka are filled with partying groups shielded from the wind by gaily coloured hanging walls of rugs and printed canvas. More about Shoton Festival in Tibet.

4. Water Splashing Festival

DateApril 13–15
Place: Xishuangbanna, Yunnan
Celebrated by: Dai
Activities: splashing water

The Water Splashing Festival (Water Spray Festival) is the grandest traditional festival of Dai nationality. During three days in the mid April every year, people splash water to each other to express best regards during the water splashing festival, which is also the New Year for the Dai ethnic group. The person who got sprayed the most water and hared most will be the luckiest. In the evening, they will hold a grand entertainment party and sing, dance, set off fireworks and guess lantern riddles continuously till mid-night. More about Water Splashing Festival.

5. Torch Festival

Datefrom 24th to 27th of the sixth lunar month
Place: Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan
Celebrated by: Yi, Bai, Naxi, etc.
Activities: lighting up a bonfire, singing and dancing

The Torch Festival is a traditional festival celebrated by Yi ethnic group in Southwest China. It falls on the 24th or 25th day of the sixth month in Chinese calendar and last for three days. The people would light up a bonfire in front of their house and celebrate it by holding wrestling matches, horse racing, dance shows. The purpose of lighting fires is used to drive away  disease and bad energy and celebrate for a good coming harvest. It is recognized as the grandest traditional festival of the Yi ethnic minority. More about Torch Festival.

6. Lusheng Festival

Datethe first month or the ninth month in lunar calendar
Place: Guizhou
Celebrated by: Miao, Dong
Activities: singing, bullfighting, horse racing, dancing to the rhythm of the Lusheng

A lusheng is a reed instrument made of bamboo. The Lusheng Festival is the most influential festival of the Miao community. It features a lot of Miao ethnic activities, such as singing, bullfighting, horse racing, and dancing to the rhythm of the Lusheng. The Lusheng Festival in Kaili, Guizhou is the most famous and grand of the bunch. Gulong Lusheng Festival in Huangping county is held from the 27th day to the 29th day of the ninth lunar month. Playing the Lusheng music and performing the Lusheng dance are an important part of many Miao festivals. More about Lusheng Festival.

Recommended Tour:
6 Days Autumn Lusheng Festival Tour in Guizhou

7. Sisters’ Meal Festival

Datethe 15th of third lunar month
Place: Guizhou
Celebrated by: Miao
Activities: colored rice, beautiful ethnic costumes, singing and dancing

The Sisters’ Meal Festival is an important festival of the Miao minority in China. Known as the ancient Chinese Valentines’ Day, it’s a celebration of love and spring, and the celebrations usually last for 3 days. There are different colored rice, beautiful ethnic costumes, and singing and dancing between single men and women. It offers opportunities for young people to find their marriage partners. There are also many other activities especially for the elders who already have a partner, including bullfighting, horseracing, drum dancing, rowing, and Lusheng music. More about Sisters’ Meal Festival.

Recommended Tours:
5 Days Guizhou Miao Sisters’ Meal Festival Tour
13 Days Hunan and Guizhou Tour

Categories of Ethnic Minority Festivals

Ethnic Minority Festivals by Minority

Ethnic Minority Festivals Ethnic Minority Festivals
Mongol(蒙古族) Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian Lunar New Year) Bai(白族) March Fair
Nadam Fair Torch Festival
Obo Festival Raosanling Festival
Golden Eagles Festival Shibaoshan Mountain Singing Festival
Yi(彝族) Torch Festival Miao(苗族) Huashan Festival
Chahua festival New Rice Tasting Festival (Chixin Jie)
Saichuan festival Miao Spring Festival
Shiyue Nian Lusheng Festival
Naxi(纳西族) Bangbang Meeting Jingpo(景颇族) Zongge Festival
Sanduo Festival New Rice Festival
July Meeting Pumpkin Festival
Tibetan(藏族) Tibetan New Year Nengxian Festival
Saka Dawa Festival Bouyei(布依族) Sanyuesan Festival
Shoton Festival Ox-God Festival
Great Prayer Festival Chabai Singing Festival
Bathing Festival June 6th Festival
Dai(傣族) Water-splashing Festival Hani(哈尼族) Ku-Zha-Zha Festival
Door-closing Festival Amatu Festival
Door-opening Festival Zalete Festival
Flower Street Festival New Rice Festival
Zhuang(壮族) Devil Festival Lisu(傈僳族) Kuoshi Festival
Ox Soul Festival Zaotang Festival
Singing Festival Knife Pole Festival
Hui(回族) Lesser Bairam (End of Ramadan) Lahu(拉祜族) Kuota Festival(Chinese New Year)
Corban Festival Wusizha Festival
Shengji Festival Sun God Worship Festival
Wa(佤族) Piaoniu Ceremony Yao(瑶族) Panwang Festival
New Rice Festival Danu Festival
Bianke Festival Cloth Drying Festival
Pumi(普米族) New-Grain Tasting Festival Achang(阿昌族) Woluo Festival
Spring Festival Flower Watering Festival 
Zhuanshan Festival Fair Street Festival
Jinuo(基诺族) Iron Forging Festival Shui(水族) Shui New Year
Adult Ceremony Qingming Festival
New Rice Festival Dragon Boat Festival
Dulong(独龙族) Kaquewa(Spring Festival) Nu(怒族) Nu New Year’s Day
Chaoxian(朝鲜族) Similar to Han’s Flower Festival 
Dongxiang(东乡族)   Mohammed’s Birthday Bulang(布朗族) Torch Festival
Kaizhai Festival Chengding Festival
Corban Festival Hounan Festival
Tatar(塔塔尔族)   Mohammed’s Birthday Manchu(满族)  Banjin Festival
Kaizhai Festival Tiancang Festival
Corban Festival Man New Year
 Li(黎族) Spring Festival Salar(撒拉族) Mohammed’s Birthday
Sanyuesan Kaizhai Festival
Uzbek(乌孜别克族) Mohammed’s Birthday Corban Festival
Kaizhai Festival Dong(侗族) Dongnian Festival
Corban Festival New Rice Tasting Festival
Maonan(毛南族) Fenlong Festival Sisters Festival
Gelao(仡佬族) Ox God Festival Uygur(维吾尔族) Kaizhai Festival
Gelao New Year Corban Festival
New Rice Tasting Festival (Chixin Jie) Nowruz Festival
Kirgiz(柯尔克孜族) Norooz Festival Ewenki(鄂温克族) Fire Worship Day
Oroqen(鄂伦春族) Similar to Han’s Mikoulu Festival
She(畲族) Sanyuesan Tu(土族) July Meeting
She Spring Festival Xibe(锡伯族) Smearing Festival
Tujia(土家族) Diaonian Meeting Xiqian Festival
Deang(德昂族) Water-splashing Festival Daur(达斡尔族) Black Ash Festival
Door-opening Festival Butong Festival
Door-closing Festival Daur Spring Festival
Bonan(保安族)  Lesser Bairam Luoba(珞巴族) Delingang Festival
Corban Festival Mulam仫佬 Yifan Festival
Qiang(羌族) Qiang New Year Tagik(塔吉克族) Corban Festival
  Jishan Meeting Almsgiving Festival
Jing(京族) Changha Festival Baluoti Festival
Russ(俄罗斯族) Easter Gaoshan(高山族) Harvest Festival
Kazak(哈萨克族) Noroz Festival Hezhen(赫哲族) Wurigong Festival
Corban Festival God Deer Festival
Rozah Festival Yugur(裕固族) June Pageant
Monba(门巴族) Losar Festival Drive Demon with Fire
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Ma Guai Festival of Zhuang Ethnic Group

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March 3rd Festival of Zhuang Ethnic Group

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Panwang Festival of Yao Ethnic Group

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Slope Walking Festival of Mulao Ethnic Group

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Yi Fan Festival of Mulao Ethnic Group

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Wurigong Festival of Hezhen Ethnic Group

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