Festivals are an important part of the calendar for the Chinese and are usually very colourful and noisy events. They offer a great way to experience authentic culture and traditions that in some cases date back millennia. We have a number of trips that are planned around festivals and in many cases we will be the only foreigners in attendance for a truly authentic experience. Here are just a few of the Chinese festivals you can visit with us
Perhaps the most famous of all Chinese festivals and enjoyed worldwide, Chinese New Year is an incredible ancient festival that has been celebrated for at least 2,500 years. Legend has it that the wild beast ‘Nien’ appeared at the end of each year to attack and kill villagers. The beast was scared away with loud noises and bright lights, and so the tradition of setting off firecrackers and fireworks was born. Today the form of celebration varies across the country, but it is always a time for families to get together, share food and exchange gifts.
On our 11 day Harbin Ice Festival trip you can enjoy the vibrant and creative atmosphere of the annual Ice Festival before joining in with the celebrations for the Chinese New Year at the end of the trip.
The Fire Sacrifice festival is an important day in the calendar of the Axi tribe in Yunnan. Here we watch locals with painted bodies performing dances to celebrate the day they discovered fire. Their legends talk of a group of men out hunting who had to shelter from heavy rain. A local wizard appeared and used two pieces of wood to create a fire, so saving them from the freezing cold and leading them to revere fire.
Our 14 day trip through the Yunnan Province takes in four unique festivals, including the Fire Sacrifice Festival, and gives travellers the chance to experience a traditional lifestyle that few westerners are privileged to see.
There are many festivals in Guizhou and one of the most famous is the Sisters’ Rice Festival. Young people of the Miao minority from nearby villages attend in search of a suitable marriage partner. The girls prepare ‘sisters’ rice’ which is dyed by wild flowers and contains a symbol; a pair of chopsticks indicates acceptance for a marriage proposal, while a single stick means a refusal. Garlic shoots or pepper mean 'please look elsewhere' and pine needles are a reminder that a girl's affections can sometimes be won with gifts of satin or silk.
Our 17 day Sanyuesan and Sisters Rice Festival trip gives you the chance to enjoy this unique spectacle, as well as joining the Dong tribe for fireworks, dancing, singing and the ‘Dragon Feast’ during the Sanyuesan Festival.
The Tagong Horse Festival is held high up on the Tibetan Plateau of Sichuan and involves a gathering of nomads from all around the region. They demonstrate their amazing equestrian skills with races and challenges, and celebrate their culture with singing, dancing and nomadic sports. All this takes place in a beautiful setting with a backdrop of towering mountains.
On our 18 day trip you’ll meet the fascinating people from this region and enjoy the hospitality they are famous for against a backdrop of dramatic high mountain scenery.