Festivals in Sanya

Print english.sanya.gov.cn Updated: 2021-02-18

With such a mix of different cultures in one small place Sanya inevitably has a host of vibrant festivals to celebrate throughout the year. Along with festivals that are celebrated throughout China such as Chinese New Year, Mid Autumn Festival and Dragon Boat Festival there are also traditional Li, Miao and Hui festivals observed only in Sanya. In addition, other some festivals that have been staged in recent years to showcase what Sanya, and Hainan Island have to offer. 


Longtaitou Jie (The Dragon Head Raising Festival)

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A traditional festival throughout China, Longtaitou Jie is held on the second day of the second lunar month, and signifies the beginning of spring. In Chinese mythology dragons are in charge of rain and wind, which are of vital importance to agriculture. Therefore, people celebrate this festival to pray for peace, good weather and harvests for the coming year. The sea is thought to be the home of dragons, and so, as Hainan Island is surrounded by sea the worship of dragons is extremely important here. Every coastal village has a temple for people to worship dragons to ensure a good  catch and safe sea voyages. 


Nowadays, in addition to the traditional praying for harvest and good fortune, local people have introduced new activities, such as environmental protection campaigns during this festival. Visitors can see the celebrations in Sanya at Dongtian Park (Da Xiao Dong Tian Scenic Spot). Various activities are held at the park, including a folk temple fair and a ceremony blessing the South China Sea. 

Sanyuesan Festival

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This festival is celebrated on the third day of the third lunar month – Sanyuesan means the 3rd of the 3rd month. In central Sanya the best place to see the celebrations is Luhuitou Square, near Dadonghai. The festival is also celebrated in the Wuzhishan area, particularly in Nansheng Town – visitors should ask at their hotel for details. Both festivals are good places to see performances of traditional Li and Miao dancing and singing. There are also traditional sporting events and exhibitions of arts and crafts and food. Sanyuesan Festival is a traditional festival in China. It is observed and celebrated by many Chinese ethnic groups, including the Han people, as a festival for young couples to express their love for each other. In a sense, it is the Chinese Valentine's Day. 

The local Li ethnic groups observe Sanyuesan as their biggest festival. It is a time for praying for the harvest of crops and successful hunting. However, the most important festivities and ceremonies are related to love and marriage – Sanyuesan is also called Day of Love (Funianfu, in the Li language) by Li people. 

Dragon Boat Festival

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This day is a national holiday throughout China, taking place on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. It’s a traditional festival thought to mark the death of ancient poet and statesman Qu Yuan. People celebrate by eating Zongzi, a kind of triangular dumpling, and drinking rice wine; however, the most famous part of the celebrations is the Dragon Boat races. The teams in Sanya come from the local fishing community and the races are held in the section of the West Sanya River between the road bridge by the Times Coast and the wooden pedestrian bridge to the north.

Nanshan Longevity Cultural Festival

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The Sanya Nanshan Longevity Cultural Festival is held every year on the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, and is the day of praying to the "god of longevity" and celebrating those who have lived to a ripe old age. The event features large scale cultural & art performances, lectures from seniors, painting and calligraphy contests by invitation, mountain climbing activities for seniors and many other fun activities.

Hainan Island Carnival

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Held in early January, this carnival is the most significant festival in Hainan. It’s a time for people of the entire province to celebrate. There are street parades, performances of folk music and dancing, sports, beauty competitions and so on. The opening day of the ceremony is a public holiday, followed by a week of large-scale celebrations held in cities, towns and villages across Hainan. Cities in Hainan take turns hosting the main festival each year.


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