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Monihei Mud Carnival, China

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What is the Monihei Mud Carnival?

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Monihei Carnival or Monihei Festival is an annual celebration held in Cangyuan County, China. The Monihei Festival consists of a ceremony in which people dirty each other with mud until they are completely covered. The word “Monihei” means to make yourself or paint yourself dark. The Wa ethnic group believes that the dark or black color will bring luck and that the more covered in mud you are, the more prosperity, luck and health you will have. This Carnival manages to gather some 25 ethnic minorities of the country to be part of this mud bath to have fun in a unique way.

Originally, the people of the Wa people made a mixture of potash (reddish-colored mineral), ox blood and mud to perform the ceremonies, as it was believed that this mixture expelled evil spirits andattracted peace. However, nowadays the mud is made with a mixture of bark and local herbs.

 

 

Today, the celebration of the Monihei Carnival is a great festival that attracts hundreds of tourists from other regions of the country and the world to be part of this very particular ritual. The Wa people take advantage of the large wave of visitors to publicize the varied and diverse culture they have to offer, not only the festival, but a wide range of rituals, paintings and traditions that they have been performing for several centuries.

 

The Wa People

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The Wa people are a ethnic group living mainly in northern Myanmar, in the northern part of Shan State and the eastern part of Kachin State, near the border of Burma.

In China, the Wa represent one of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups per country. The Wa live in various communities scattered in some counties such as Ximeng Va Autonomous County, Cangyuan Va Autonomous County, Va Gengma Dai Autonomous County, Va Gengma Dai Autonomous County and Va Autonomous County, among others. Within their population, there are an estimated 400,000 individuals in China alone, while in Burma there are about 800,000 and in Thailand 10,000.

The Wa have inhabited the Wa lands since time immemorial. This geographical area is a mountainous area located between the Mekong and the Salween River. The etnia Wa practiced agriculture through the cultivation of rice, peas, beans, poppies and nuts. In addition, they raised water buffaloes which they used mainly for slaughtering purposes.

 

The Monihei Carnival is a celebration where everyone plays with mud mixed with bark and local herbs

The Monihei Carnival is a celebration where everyone plays with mud mixed with bark and local herbs

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When is the Monihei Mud Carnival

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The Monihei Carnival is a celebration that occupies two days of events in which includes mud or mud bathing. TheMonihei will take place from approximately May 1 to May 2.

 

 

History of the Monihei Mud Carnivals

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The Wa people are an ethnic group with particular beliefs, one of which indicates that humans came from caves, so some of their rituals are related to the earth and minerals. The Wa ethnic group occupies diverse cultural elements, traditions and rituals that have been carried out for several centuries.

Within the community there is a belief that dark skin is synonymous with being hardworking, as well as having good fortune and health. For this reason, covering from head to toe during the Monihei Festival is of great importance. The more the person is covered, the more health, prosperity and luck he/she will have. This belief extends equally to children and the elderly, the more mud they have on their bodies, the healthier they will grow or live for much longer.



The Wa are traditionally farmers and used to raise water oxen for later use in rituals. One of these, has to do with theMonihei festival, since originally the mud mixture included ox blood and a mineral called potash, a water-soluble material extracted from the earth. Today, however, the mud is simply mixed with bark and various local herbs.

 

Where is the Monihei Mud Carnival?

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The Monihei Mud Festival is held in Cangyuan Va Autonomous County, which is under the administration of Lincang City,Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China. Lincang City has an area of 23,620.72 square kilometers where approximately 2.5 million inhabitants live.

 

The Monihei Carnival is a celebration that includes the entire Wa ethnic group

The Monihei Carnival is a celebration that includes the entire Wa ethnic group

 

How the Monihei Mud Carnival is celebrated

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In Monihei carnivals, 3 ceremonies or events are held during the two days of celebration. These events have been traditionally celebrated for several years and today have become traditional elements of the Wa ethnic group.

 

Bullfighting

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This is one of the main events of theMonihei festival and takes place during the first day of the celebrations, although it is also common to see both days of the festival. It usually takes place in the mornings and the entrance for the event costs about 50 renminbi, the equivalent of 7 US dollars. During the event they put the bulls in front of each other to fight until one of them wins. Many people place bets during the event.

 

Cultural Presentations

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On the main day of the Monihei Carnival activities, a series of cultural performances are held, revolving around the grand opening ceremony through dancing and singing. Within this event you get to see a great ethnic arts show with the participation of dozens of people who perform songs, dances and live concerts.

One of the main attractions is performed by a group of women and is known as “The Hair Dance“. During this event, the women of the Wa ethnic group dance shaking their long hair while a group of men play drums.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country I recommend this guide:.

 

Mud Festival

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This is the main event of the carnivals and is held in the Monihei Square of the city, which is a large enclosure where dozens of buckets filled with a mixture of mud, weeds and bark are placed. Then, a series ofcommemorative ceremonies are held to start the great event, then the start signal is given and the square becomes the scene of a great mud war.

Once the clock strikes 2 p.m., tens of thousands of people start running toward the mud-filled buckets to then uncover them and begin to throw mud at their companions, friends and even strangers attending the event. Participants pile up near the buckets to collect as much mud as possible with a container or their hands and then throw it at the first victim they find.

Once the mud from the containers is finished, people begin to celebrate with great animosity, singing and dancing. The event lasts a couple of hours, as the mud manages to dry on the skin of the participants. After this, people head to the different areas where they can take a shower to remove the mud.

 

Tips for going to the Monihei Mud Carnivals

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If you wish to attend the Monihei Carnival, we recommend that you plan your trip in advance, make a travel itinerary and book your preferred accommodation in advance.

We encourage you to participate directly in the celebration and not stay away. Visitors and foreigners can participate in the mud ceremony, so do not worry about whether you will be allowed to participate. If you decide to participate, remember to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Also, remember to stay hydrated, as you will be doing physical activity during the carnival.

Finally, remember to pack clothes and shoes so that you can fully enjoy the Monihei festival.

 

Events at Monihei Mud Carnival

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Monihei Carnival is a celebration that takes place over two days, the first day usually features bull fighting and the second day cultural performances and mud warfare among the participants.

 

Bull Fighting

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It takes place on the first day in a large coliseum-like enclosure with the presence of hundreds of people who usually place bets. Once the event begins, two bulls are placed in the center of the enclosure and both fight until one of the two falls..

During this day also preparations are made for the mud war, the materials are gathered to make the mud with the earth, water, bark and weeds. Then, it is kept stored in the containers for the following day.

 

Cultural presentations

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On the very day of the Monihei Carnival celebration, people congregate in the main square to kick off the opening ceremony. Usually, various dance shows are performed with music and a pleasant atmosphere of celebration.

The women who perform “El Baile del Cabello” get ready to start shaking their long hair against the wind. They are accompanied by a group of percussionists who enliven the atmosphere and set the rhythm for the dancers to perform their repertoire of dances.

 

 

Mud Festival

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It is the most awaited moment of the celebration. Hundreds of thousands of people get into position inside the city square to start the mud war. Each one carries with him a small container with which he picks up some mud and then throws the contents to the nearest person. After the big show is over, there is a big celebration with singing and dancing.

At the end, people proceed to clean the mud from their bodies in a shower facility.

 

 

Monihei Mud Carnival Ceremony

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The main event begins at approximately 2 p.m., when dancers and drummers begin to entertain visitors at Monihei Square. After this, they proceed to perform the Mud War at the same location.

 

One of the ceremonies that takes place at the Monihei Carnival is a series of cultural performances accompanied by music and dance

One of the ceremonies that takes place at the Monihei Carnival is a series of cultural performances accompanied by music and dance

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Carnival venue

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Crowd gathers at central square to celebrate Monihei Carnival

Crowd gathers at central square to celebrate Monihei Carnival

 

The main event begins at approximately 2 p.m., when dancers and drummers start cheering visitors at Monihei Square. After this, they proceed to perform the Mud War at the same place.

 

Congee is a porridge made of rice that is served with other ingredients to attribute some flavor to the dish

Congee is a porridge made of rice that is served with other ingredients to attribute some flavor to the dish

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What to eat at the Monihei Mud Carnival

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The Wa have a complete culture of food dishes, drinks and also some particular habits that generate some controversy such as the areca nut or betel, a nut that has psychotropic properties. However, the ethnic group has distinctive dishes that are consumed throughout the year.

One of the typical meals of the Wa ethnic group is congee, which is a porridge made with rice that usually has a fairly neutral, almost tasteless flavor and is quite doughy. It is usually accompanied with some chicken, spices or vegetables which is what adds flavor to the dish.

It is also traditional to drink Kaoliang, which is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from a plant called sorghum. The alcoholic percentage is quite high, ranging from 38 to 58 degrees alcohol.

 

Kaoliang is a 50-proof alcoholic beverage made from a plant called sorghum

Kaoliang is a 50-proof alcoholic beverage made from a plant called sorghum

 

Travel Insurance

 

From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurance. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do inside the Monihei Mud Carnival

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One of the first events that take place at the Monihei Mud Carnival is the bullfighting. If you like this type of event, you can participate and be part of the betting and take place in the enclosure. However, it is not a very pleasant event to watch, so you can skip it if you so choose.

Afterwards, you canattend the opening ceremony in the main square so you can watch the whole repertoire of dances and music that take place before the main event. It is truly a special event that you should not miss.

Finally, you can participate in the great mud war. We advise you to participate, as it is undoubtedly a special ceremony that you should experience firsthand. If you do decide to participate, we recommend that you wear clothes that you don’t mind getting stained since they will be filled with mud from head to toe..

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside of the Monihei Mud Carnivals

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Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Yunnan province are:

Cui Hu Park

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It is a set of 4 small lakes that are linked by several bridges of traditional Chinese architecture and design. Formerly it functioned as a water reservoir for the city of Kunming. In its surroundings you can find a good number of restaurants and tea rooms.

 

Hutiao Xia

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It is a crag that crosses a river. The scenery is extremely imposing and the tour is not suitable for people with vertigo. The tourist attraction requires some physical condition as you have to walk a few kilometers and climb hundreds of stairs to reach the most popular area.

 

Yuantong Temple

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It is a Buddhist temple that was built during the 8th century and the 9th century. It has several halls and structures around it. In recent years it has been renovated thanks to the collaboration of Thailand.

 

Kunming Dragon Gate

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It is a natural park on a mountain. In its vicinity you can find several temples with classical Chinese architecture and style. From the top you can appreciate the lake and you can go up to it either by cable car or bus.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety at the Monihei Mud Carnivals

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Yunnan province and Cangyuan are generally safe.However, we recommend that you keep your items in a safe place and be aware of your surroundings, especially while using public transportation and being in a crowded place.

Also, we recommend the following products to keep your items securely stored:

 

Weather at the Monihei Mud Carnival

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The weather during the Monihei Carnival is quite pleasant, with an average daily temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius.

 

Hundreds of people participate in the battle of mud mixed with herbs and bark at the Monihei Carnival

Hundreds of people participate in the battle of mud mixed with herbs and bark at the Monihei Carnival

 

How to get to the Monihei Mud Carnivals

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How to get there by plane

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The closest airport to Cangyuan County is Cangyuan Washan Airport, which is located right in Cangyuan County. The airport mainly receives flights from Kunming, Guangzhou and Chengdu, so you will need to go to some of these areas to catch a flight to Cangyuan. Once there, take the means of transportation of your choice until you reach the center of the county.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to get there by car

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From Cangyuan Washan Airport you can take a cab to the center of Cangyuan Vacounty. The cab ride consists of a journey that takes approximately about 42 minutes and the taxi fare can be around 70 to 90 yuan, which is equivalent to about US$10 to US$13.

If you decide to take a car, you can take the 314 road to the center of Cangyuan Va County. The drive is 42 minutes, taking up about 39 kilometers.

 

Where to stay at the Monihei Mud Carnival

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Booking.com

 

Accommodation in the county is somewhat scarce, so we offer you some options in Kunming city:

Ibis Kunming

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Hotel 1.1 km from the center of Kunming. Rooms are equipped with air conditioning, cable TV, private bathroom with hairdryer and desk. The hotel features daily buffet style breakfast and free wifi in all areas.

 

Holiday Inn Kunming City Centre

Hotel 700 meters from the center of Kunming. Rooms feature satellite TV, air conditioning, minibar, refrigerator, kettle and dining room. There is a private bathroom with basic toiletries, shower and hairdryer. Facilities include a swimming pool, airport shuttle service, room service, bar, breakfast, gym and free Wi-Fi. In addition, the hotel has access areas for people with reduced mobility.

 

InterContinental Kunming

Hotel 9 km from the center of Kunming. Rooms feature minibar, ironing set, spacious private bathrooms with basic toiletries, bathtub and shower. Facilities offer a swimming pool, gym, spa, room service, breakfast, airport shuttle service and free wifi.

 

Crowne Plaza Kunming City Centre

Hotel 550 m from the center of Kunming. Rooms feature air conditioning, minibar, cable TV, kettle and private bathroom with basic toiletries bathtub, shower and a hairdryer. The hotel offers room service, breakfast, family rooms, bar, fitness center and free Wi-Fi.

 

Wanda Vista Kunming

Hotel 3.7 km from the center of Kunming. The hotel rooms are soundproofed, elegantly decorated and air-conditioned. In addition, the rooms have private bathrooms with basic toiletries, hairdryer, whirlpool bath, cable and satellite TV, safe and minibar. Facilities include 24-hour reception, shared lounge, ballroom, meeting room, 3 restaurants with varied international menu, swimming pool, gym, room service, breakfast service, bar, parking and free wifi.

We recommend you to use Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.



 

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