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Swallow's Nest Festival in Jianshui Swallow Cave

燕窝节Since the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, the Buddhist pilgrims have believed that the Goddess of Mercy enshrined in the Swallow Cave worked in answer to their prayer. They also believe that if they can sincerely hang a special plaque, to show their piety to Buddha, on the cliff normal people can't get access to, they will be promised what they pray for. The top of entrance to the Cave, 40-50 meters high, therefore becomes the holy land of the pilgrims. The Yi men, who are good at climbing to pick cubilose (bird nest) on steep cliffs, from the villages nearby are usually invited to hang plaques for people.

During the festival, visitors can watch local farmers pick the nests of swallows and traditional ethnic performances, visit local scenic spots, and buy famous specialties of Jianshui County. The highlight of the festival is the barehanded picking of swallows’ nests. Local farmers climb barehanded to the top of a cave, which is 450 meters long and more than 50 meters high. After reaching the cave ceiling full of the nests of swallows, they start collecting the nests, which is risky yet exciting. 

Date: Mar 21
Venue: Swallow Cave, Jianshui County, Honghe Prefecture

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