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Local Festivals



Huanhua (Flower Exchange) Festival

Date: the 15th day of the 1st lunar month



The Huanhua Festival is a flower exchanging festival, although in the past participants exchanged sticks of incense instead. Each year, locals exchange flowers with one another and wish each other happiness in the coming year. Roses are most popular, and are the most common flower traded during the day. Some people wear fanciful and colorful face masks! Held in Qiongshan city, the festival focuses on friendship, wellness, and happiness. In addition to the flowers, you will see lion dances, parades, and traditional lanterns everywhere!


Spring Dragon Festival


"The dragon lifts its head on the second day of the second lunar moth and large barns will be full and small ones will overflow." Hundreds of fishermen and women gather together in Sanya's Dongtian Park to worship the Dragon King of the South China Sea and to celebrate this traditional folk festival on the 2nd day of the 2nd lunar month. It's traditional to also get a good haircut on this holiday!


Junpo Festival



Dates: the 9th to 19th day of the 2nd lunar month

Junpo Festival is a historic Hainan festival of the Li people celebrating the life and achievements of Madam Xian, who played a vital role in uniting and developing Hainan between 513 and 603 AD. The festival is divided into two parts, one celebrating local male gods, and one celebrating local female gods. Participants burn incense, kowtow, dance, walk on coals, and even pierce their cheeks with long metal rods in honor of the gods during Junpo Festival.


Hainan International Coconut Festival

Date: the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month




The Hainan International Coconut Festival began in early April of 1992. The idea of the festival was to promote tourism and welcome people of all cultures to Hainan. Hainan has been known as The Coconut Island from ancient times, and this festval centers on teaching the history and culture of Hainan while learning and absorbing that of other nations. It is a comprehensive, large-scale, international commerce and cultural festival that is open to the public.The festival combines physical sports, tourism, culture, traditional culture, and shopping. This festival is also associated with Sanyuesan Festival, a traditional Li Minority festival.



Sanyuesan Festival

Date: the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month




Sanyuesan is a Li festival coinciding with the International Coconut Festival. There are campfire songs, bamboo dancing, dragon boat racing, archery contests, and opportunities for young Li men and women to court one another in attempt to find love and happiness. It's a great time to learn more about the traditional culture of the Li minority people of Hainan!


Dragon Boat Festival



The traditional Dragon Boat Festival is held in memory of the ancient poet Qu Yuan (屈原), who drowned approximately 2300 years ago on the “double fifth”. This is why Dragon Boat festival is always held on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. In the festival, Hainan people eat traditional zongzi (steamed rice with various fillings), race dragon boats, and fly kites. Locals also go to the rivers and oceans, and splash each other with “Dragon Water” to pray for health and wealth for the whole year.




Hainan Carnival

Dates: End of November


Taking place in late November, the Hainan Carnival is all about joyfulness. It is held in a different location around Hainan every year. Opening ceremony performances include drumming, dancing, and singing. The show is followed by a parade with floats and celebreties, fireworks and a street party lasting late into the night.


2015 Hainan Carnival details here.


Nanshan Longevity Festival

Date: the 9th day of the 9th lunar month


Living in Hainan is great for your health, and Hainan residents are some of the most long-lived in the world. The Nanshan Longevity Festival celebrates Hainan's oldest men and women. At the festival, large photos of the elderly are put on display, awards are given to the oldest living Hainanese, and those over 100 years old hike up the mountain! There are seminars on longevity and contests with games and prizes for all.




International Wedding Celebration


Date: December




Held in Sanya's Tianya Haijiao, aka “The End of the Earth,” the International Wedding Celebration attracts couples from all over. Many participants have been married already for many years, and come to renew their vows or celebrate 10, 25, or even 50 years of marriage! Others are just starting out in their romantic journey. There is an opportunity for them to all say their vows at once, as well as many love-themed shows and activities to enjoy. Plus, it's a great place to get stunning wedding photos taken against the dramatic rock-strewn shore!


Seven Fairy Mountain Water Splashing Festival

Date: the 7th day of the 7th lunar month


Held in Baoting, the Water Splashing Festival begins with a ceremony in the center of town, and then erupts into pandemonium as the entire town plus hundreds of tourists all vie to soak each other with water. With squirt guns, dippers, and buckets, everyone is armed and there is no one left unsoaked during this chaotic water fight that lasts all day. It's a good idea to keep your valuables in a water-proof bag and have a dry change of clothes ready! Bathing suits are great attire, but beware of wearing anything that could be ruined or become see-through when wet.


Minority Culture


Li Culture



The Li people are considered to be the earliest settlers of Hainan. In the past, Li women bore geometric tattoos on their faces and hands, which identified them by village and family, but this practice has died out, and there are now only a few elderly Li women with traditional tattoos. Historically the Li houses were constructed of bamboo and mud, with a thatched roof, although now of course most Li people live in modern housing. Traditional Li beliefs include ancestor worship and the belief that the land, rivers, and trees had their own spirits. The Li people are known for developing the earliest and most advanced weaving technology in China, and their weaving, embroidery, dying, and sewing skills have made Li textiles a much sought after commodity. The Li patterns are colorful and unique, and Li weavings are now a popular Hainan souvenir. The Li also have traditional music and musical instruments, including the bamboo nose flute. A popular Li dance involves hopping through a grid of rythmically moved bamboo poles, and you can see this dance performed and even try it for yourself at the many shows and performances of Li culture around Hainan.





Miao Culture


The Miao people are known for their excellent hospitality, and they often kill a chicken to make a special meal when guests arrive. Glutinous rice cakes also play a special part in traditional Miao food and celebrations. Miao art such as batik and paper cutting shows their sense of beauty, as does their traditional colorful clothing and extravagant silver head-dresses and jewelry. Traditional Miao culture includes hunting and making their own herbal medicines and alcohol. The Miao have many traditional dances and songs, and they have some unique festivals, including the Sister Festival and the Miao Spring Festival, held in the 12th lunar month. Historically the Miao are polytheistic, and believe in sacrificing to the spirits of nature.



Hui Culture



The majority of the Hui people in Hainan live in or near Sanya, and practice Sunni Islam. The women wear veils covering their heads, and the men often wear small embroidered caps. There are several large mosques serving the Hui people in the Sanya area, and restaurants serving halal food which cater to their dietary restrictions. The Hui people of Hainan do not share a common language with the Hui people of Mainland China and may be descended from the ancient Cham people of what is now Vietnam. Many Hui sell pearls and fruit for a living to tourists on Sanya's beaches, while others fish.


Updated: 10/12/15

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