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World Heritage City of China Dujiangyan Reiterates Time-Honored Water Releasing Ceremony

March 25, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

On April 2, China will be greeted by the traditional ancestral memorial holiday of Qingming Festival. Dujiangyan, a “Double World Heritage City” located at the upper reaches of the Yangtze, will be greeted by a grand folk cultural event – the Water Releasing Ceremony of the “2017 China – Dujiangyan Water Releasing Festival” that has been inherited for the past over two thousand years. It has been known that this year’s Water Releasing Festival will be even more spectacular than past editions, and innovation and upgrades are engendered by thorough incorporation of historical cultural components, internationalized elements and market-oriented factors, so as to present to visitors from around the globe a truly expansive and enriching cultural tourism gala.

Legend has it that during antiquity, floods used to plague the Chengdu Plain situated at the upper Yangtze River. In 256 BC, then Shu Province governor Li Bing led his people in an endeavor to construct the unparalleled water conservancy marvel of Dujiangyan irrigation system. Since then, floods and droughts have been brought under control in the Chengdu Plain and the people are able to flourish in peace and prosperity. The water conservancy feat has been listed as both a World Cultural Heritage and World Natural Heritage.

According to the person in charge at the Mount Qingcheng-Dujiangyan Scenic Area Management Bureau in Sichuan Province of China, the Dujiangyan Water Releasing Festival held every year around the time of the traditional Chinese holiday of Qingming Festival is always able to garner the attention of tens of millions of tourists from around the world due to its profound historical culture and sensational stage performances. As the most prominent and time-honored folk cultural tradition of western Sichuan and a sightseeing program rich in local characteristics, the Dujiangyan Water Releasing Festival aims to commemorate the Li Bing and his son, the founders of the irrigation system and bringers of good fortune to the Chengdu Plain. The Festival reiterates the long historical development process and folk customs of the farming culture of the Chengdu Plain, and also manifests the Chinese traditional qualities in venerating wisdom of the past and paying tribute to benefactors, bestowing the event the practical purpose in promoting traditional heritage.

Worth noting for tourists worldwide is that this year’s Dujiangyan Water Releasing Festival will feature a majestic “Water Releasing Ceremony” to be held at Dujiangyan on the morning of April 2. With live performance that integrates the profundity of Taoism culture and nature’s principal of heaven and man in one, the water conservancy engineering triumph that has blessed generations after generations for thousands of years will be interpreted and illustrated, so as to display a wonderful picture of the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Of these, the highlight ought to be the dismantling of temporary wooden tripod dams and releasing of the water. As the name suggests, wooden tripod dams are tripods constructed by bounding three logs together, which are then combined with other materials and contraptions to plug up the river and stop water flow. Under the direction of the commander and after three blasts from the gun salute, the stout dam workers will chop off the ropes that tie the logs together, while crowds on the shore will pull on cables to yank the tripods apart. As the tripod dams collapse, water gushes out and youngsters will run along with the torrent and throw stones at the head of the waves in a custom known as “hitting the water’s head,” which signifies a fight for the “head water” as a tribute to the gods for the sake of evil banishment and auspicious fortune.

It has been gathered that the “Water Releasing Ceremony” is not only a description of an engineering project, even more so it is the dissemination of a type of culture and the reproduction of a people’s wisdom and life’s pursuits. It is a distillation of the abundant and affluent life the residents of western Sichuan who have been enjoying since ancient times. The various historical and cultural facets of Dujiangyan will be presented to you live at the Water Releasing Ceremony.

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