Yunnan Music – Bai Temple Festival, Erhai Lake, Dali, Yunnan Travel, China

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Wondering the narrow alleyways of Erhai lakeside villages near Dali in Yunnan Province of southwestern China one can get lucky and stumble upon a genuine Bai village temple fest. Tourists who prefer to keep to Dali guidebooks most recommended sites seldom visit the smallest of these villages. Yet it is here at a typical village temple that a village folk gathering can be found worshiping. There are no guests, no outside visitors and the immensely enjoyable spectacle usually lasts all day. The participants, including the orchestra members are the villagers themselves. All of them take part; they are who live in the small village, sharing in the worship and the eventual feast. Both men and women participate, the women first in their own temple, and then together with men they light the auspicious incense in the main temple. After worship the participants gather to enjoy some of the foods the women cooked and offered as temple offerings to the gods pig head, rooster, bowl of spicy fish, plates of colored noodles, cups of rice, fruits, chilly and vegetables, all staple parts of their diet. This gathering and communal temple worship and meal was preceded by five days of abstinence from eating meat. The music and chants are mesmerizing, downright hypnotic. All villagers sport smiles and deep-rooted joy in participating. Their simple, authentic local celebration exudes in genuine display of friendship toward one another. The following video is Part 2 of 6.

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