Kunming Major Events & Festivals

Study Abroad in ChinaKunming's biggest festival is the International Horticulture Exposition. But visitors will also find celebrations for all of the other major Chinese National Holidays, as well as many cu ltural festivals held throughout the year by the various Chinese ethnic minority groups residing in Kunming and Yunnan.

  • Cultural Festivals in Kunming
  • International Horticulture Exposition

  • Cultural Festivals in Kunming

    Yunnan is also famous for the different types of festivals celebrated in the province.

    Kunming Tourist Festival

    Since Kunming is home to various Chinese ethnic minority groups, a Tourist Festival is held every April 10 to May 10 promoting tourism throughout Yunnan Province as well as within Kunming. This festival brings foreign tourists together from different parts of the world, all dressed up in oriental style and participating in all types of Chinese activities. The festival features performances and activities in Kunming downtown and local scenic spots where attract tourists from all over the world may also see various exhibitions, see shows, and taste local foods.

    Kunming Torch Festival

    Learn Chinese at Top Chinese UniversitiesThe Torch Festival also takes place in Yunnan Province, on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month. The Kunming Torch Festival is held in the eroded limestone pillars of the Stone Forest which provides the backdrop for the traditional sports and celebrations. Events include horseracing, bullfighting, cockfighting, traditional dance displays, a torch parade and a bonfire party.

    Water Splashing of Dai Festival

    This festival is the most important festival for the Dai ethnic group people. Usually falling in mid-April or the first month by the Dai calendar, the festival lasts for three to seven days. The first day is called Mai Ri in the Dai language, meaning New Year's Eve. The third day is called Ba Wang Ma, meaning the first day of the New Year. Early in the morning, men and women, old and young, turn out before a Buddhist temple to offer money, build towers with sand, and insert some bamboo leaves wrapped with colored cloth or paper on top. They gather round the towers and listen to readings of Buddhist scriptures and related fairytales and legends. Young men and women go up into the mountains to pick wild flowers to decorate their homes. At noon, each woman carries two buckets of water to wash Buddhist sculptures. Then, they splash water onto each other as a way of driving away disasters and diseases. After that, they join in a dance to the accompaniment of Dai music.

    The 3rd Month Fair

    Bai people are diligent, simple and honest, admire the color of white ( Bai in Chinese means white ). The main festival is the large-scale "The 3rd Month Fair ". Originally, this festival was called Avalokitesvara's Festival. It was Avalokitesvara who opened up the Dali area, subdues Monster Luocha and brought prosperity to the people. Every year from the fifteenth to the twentieth of the third lunar month, people gather at the Triple-Pagodas Temple to pay homage and express thanks to Avalokitesvara. Along with the economic development, trade becomes brisk at the gathering, Finally it has become a yearly fair. In addition to trading commodities, there are horse racing, performance of operas, folk singing and dancing. 

    Other Festivals in Kunming

    The Chinese minority groups in Yunnan also sponsor many smaller festivals throughout the year in Kunming, especially from March to October. Some of the festivals include the Knife-Pole Festival of Lisu in March, and the Golden Temple Fair.

    International Horticulture Exposition

    The International Horticulture Exposition 1999 held in Kunming was a large-scale exposition with the theme of "Humanity and Nature--Advancing Towards the 21st Century". The theme centered around horticulture and how plants and flowers help to make the environment more enjoyable.

    The Exposition focused mainly on exhibiting plants and flowers. There were displays covering the various traditional horticultural and gardening arts and styles of various nations, the achievements of international environmental protection, the history of horticulture and the role of horticulture in the development of society.

    The fair also provided a good opportunity for related trade talks and negotiations. Today, The Expo Garden is well preserved and remains a major tourist attraction illustrating China's and Kunming's stature in international horticultural circles.