Diqing Festivals and Events
In Diqing, the festivals are almost held according to the Tibetans.
1. Tibetan Horse Racing Festival
The Horse Racing Festival is the grandest annual event in western China's Diqing Prefecture. Prior to the festival, Tibetan herdsmen and their families will begin to trickle into the Napa Lake – the largest prairie in Shangri-La area – from various parts of Tibet. The festival is held during the Dragon Boat Holiday every year.
In the autonomous county of Weixi Lisu, there is an intimate festival known as Kuoshi. It is a way to welcome spring. It usually lasts for a couple of days, though in some places the affair can be good for an entire month. Like the other festivals, there will be a lot of dancing and singing, with men and women garbed in their traditional costumes. They also create their rice wines by preparing them over sand. Interestingly, the wines are served in bowls, which are then shared by two people. Even if you are a foreigner you can join the celebration and partake with the wine.
3. Songs and Dances
Two forms of entertainment, songs and dances, are very significant to the lives of the Tibetans and even the other minorities in the region. This is how they express their gratitude, say their prayers, or tell their stories. Remember, as primarily Buddhists, they participate in chanting sutras in monasteries. Thus, in Diqing, the celebration of folk music and dance does not end at dusk. Instead, it continues all the way to the evening, even late at night. One of the best places to go to, to see their performance is the Sifanglou Plaza, located in the New Town of Shangri-La City. There, people would play music and dance in a round pattern. One leads the pack while the rest follow the movements of the main dancer. The Tibetans are extremely open people, so they may invite those who are watching to join. It is best to say yes and try to perform like a local at least once in your life.
4. Visiting Local Families
Didn’t we mention that the Tibetans are generous and open people? Indeed, they are, and they can welcome you into their homes. All you need to do is to drop by and ask if they are willing to accept visitors. Actually, these people have already prepared some food for you, which you can pay for a very small amount. Some of the dishes you can eat are the typical Tibetan cuisines such as tsampa, mutton soup, and baked lamb. You can also get to taste their famous yak butter tea, which is composed of yak butter, black tea, and some salt. But definitely you will not mind paying the price as they can give you a lot more than food. They can show you their way of living, talk to you more about the region and their culture, and even perform for you their folk dances and music.
5. Bars and Clubs
It is quite rare to come across bars and clubs that play techno or other modern music in Shangri-La. They prefer a more laid-back approach to a night life, so they spend most of their time drinking specially brewed beers and wines. Mind you, though, you will never miss the noise since you do not want to destroy the overall serenity of the place. If you find yourself hungry at night, want to meet the locals, or try their club scene, you can go to the those places, such as, Soyala Tibetan Diner and Bar, Tantra Restobar, Raven Café.