Sanduo Festival of Naxi Ethnic Minority in Lijiang

Sanduo Festival is a significant cultural event celebrated by the Naxi ethnic minority in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China. This festival, also known as the “Festival of the Third Month,” typically falls on the eighth day of the third lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar, which usually corresponds to April in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is named after Sanduo, the revered warrior deity in Naxi mythology, who is believed to protect the Naxi people and guard against evil spirits.

Here are some key aspects of the Sanduo Festival:

  1. Religious Ceremonies and Rituals: The Sanduo Festival begins with elaborate religious ceremonies conducted by Naxi shamans or religious leaders. Offerings are made to the deity Sanduo, including incense, food, and symbolic items, to seek his blessings for peace, prosperity, and protection. Ceremonies may involve chanting, prayers, and the burning of ritual objects to purify the surroundings and invoke divine favor.
  2. Colorful Processions and Parades: One of the highlights of the Sanduo Festival is the vibrant processions and parades that wind through the streets of Lijiang. Participants, dressed in traditional Naxi attire adorned with intricate embroidery and colorful headdresses, march to the beat of drums and cymbals, carrying ceremonial banners, flags, and symbols of Sanduo. The procession is often accompanied by lively music, singing, and dancing, creating a festive atmosphere.
  3. Equestrian Events and Horse Racing: Horse racing is a traditional feature of the Sanduo Festival, reflecting the Naxi people’s long-standing equestrian culture and reverence for horses. Skilled riders, adorned in ceremonial costumes, compete in thrilling horse races across open fields or designated race tracks. The races are not only a test of speed and agility but also a symbol of strength, courage, and unity within the community.
  4. Cultural Performances and Folk Arts: During the festival, visitors have the opportunity to witness a variety of cultural performances and folk arts showcasing the rich heritage of the Naxi ethnic minority. Traditional dances, music recitals, and theatrical performances may take place, highlighting Naxi storytelling, folklore, and artistic traditions such as Naxi Dongjing music and Baisha murals. Artisans may also demonstrate traditional crafts such as embroidery, wood carving, and pottery-making.
  5. Local Cuisine and Festive Foods: The Sanduo Festival offers a feast for the senses, including an abundance of local cuisine and festive foods. Food stalls and vendors set up across Lijiang’s streets and squares, offering traditional Naxi dishes, snacks, and delicacies made from locally sourced ingredients. Festival-goers can sample specialties such as Naxi barbecue, rice cakes, sticky rice dumplings, sweet pastries, and fruit preserves, indulging in the flavors of Naxi cuisine.

Overall, the Sanduo Festival of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Lijiang is a vibrant and culturally significant event that celebrates the spiritual beliefs, artistic heritage, and communal traditions of the Naxi people. It provides an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to come together, pay homage to their ancestors, and experience the beauty and diversity of Naxi culture in all its forms.