Festivals of the Achang People
The ritual cycle of the Achang seems to reflect their past. The migrations that have brought them into contact with different peoples throughout their history have influenced the most important celebrations of the Achang year.
The most important festivals of the Achang are:
The Festival of Happiness in the Home
This festival takes place on the 4th day of the 5th lunar month. It is a festival to honor the heroes that shot their arrows against the suns in antiquity, when the world was scorched by nine suns, allowing the Achang to begin a life of prosperity. On this day, people from distant villages go to visit their relatives and friends, and together they pay homage to the heroes that opened to the Achang the doors of life.
Festival of Worship of the Earth Mother
This festival takes place three times a year. On one horse day of February, and on May 28th and June 25th, all according to the lunar calendar. It is a ceremony that honors the mythic Zhepama and Zhemima, who created the world and human beings, and who taught the Achang how to live on earth.
Other important festivities are:
The Achang New Year
Celebrated, as is the Chinese New Year, during the first three days of the first lunar month.
The Torch Festival
Celebrated, as among other peoples related to the Yi, on June 24th of the lunar calendar.
The Liangwa Festival and Chuwa Festival.
These are two Buddhist festivals widely accepted by the Achang, probably received through their contact with the neighboring Dai people.
Achang festivals are characterized by the continuous presence of song. To sing is an intrinsic part of many facets of Achang life. They sing while working, while courting, and during festivals. Many times they sing in duets.
Song and dance, accompanied by music, are the main activities during their festivals.
Their more famous dance is the Dance of the Elephant Drum, in which the dancers move backward and forward, to the right and to the left, following the rhythm of the music. They also dance the Lion's Dance, with Chinese influences; and the Dance of the Monkeys, imitating the movements of these animals.