Shaxi Holidays and Festivals
Shaxi Singing Festival （沙溪歌会)
In earlier times, young locals would gather at the Baoshan temple during the 3 days from the 27th to 29th every lunar month, to sing love songs and court other young singles. These days the activity has been concentrated into an annual event that begins on the 27th of the seventh lunar month. The Singing Festival is one of the colorful events of the year, and it is a great experience to see all the local subgroups of the Bai and Yi turn out in their best dresses. The temples are full of VIPs, TV crews and traveling tinkers, while the locals compete for the titles of singing King and Queen. Like Shibaoshan itself, the festival does not receive a great deal of visitors from afar, but considering its ease of access and its stunning spectacle, this is likely to change in the very near future. Best of all, on the days of the festival, the entrance fee is lowered to just 2 RMB.
Shaxi Crown Prince's Festival (沙溪太子会)
The Crown Prince Festival takes place in March in the old town area of Shaxi. Effigies of the crown prince and Sakyamuni are carried in procession around the four cardinal gates, while children dress up as infant princes and princesses. The festivities climax with a show given on the Sideng Temple Stage, and this is one of the very few times when the often deserted old square is packed to bursting.
Shaxi Torch Festival (沙溪火把节)
The Torch Festival that takes place on 25th of the sixth month of the lunar calendar, is rooted in the local agrarian culture. As soon as the rice begins to ripen, villagers and farmers alike, took torches into the fields to scare away birds and insects that might eat the valuable crops. In the villages large torches up to 20 meters high, made of stalks and pine branches are adorned with fruits, fireworks and flags printed with auspicious Chinese characters. Dancing and drinking go on late in to the night, but thankfully the celebrations are not as raucous as they are in Dali, where the fire powder throwing can quickly get out of hand.