In Tibetan calendar from late June to early July every year is the traditional festival—Shoton Festival. In Tibetan language, shoton means have a yoghurt feast, so Shoton Festival is also named “Yoghurt Festival”. During the Shoton Festival, there will hold a grand scale Tibetan opera and a grand Buddhist ceremony, it is also called “Tibetan Opera Festival” and “Buddha Exhibition Festival”. Generally the Shoton Festival begins with the Buddha exhibition and then follows Tibetan opera and local people’s festivities as well as wonderful yak racing and equestrian performances, etc.
Bathing Festival falls on early September every year. It lasts for one week, during this festival, people from cities to villages, from old to young, all go to the Lhasa River. First wash hairs, then take off the clothes and scrub the body, finally step into the water and bath thoroughly. People enjoy playing, swimming and bathing in the water. When tired, they sat by the bank on the stone stairs, washing the filth, various disasters, disease, worries and pains off the body. At the same time, people wash their clothes and beddings as well.
Butter Lamp Festival
Bumper Harvest Festival
Bumper Harvest Festival
Bumper Harvest Festival is a traditional festival for Tibetan farmers to celebrate the harvest. It has a long history of more than 1,500 years and very popular in Lhasa, Shigaste and Shannan districts. In Tibetan calendar it is in July or August, the time around farming seasons. It normally lasts one to three days, after barley ripening and before the reaping. Therefore Bumper Harvest Festival is held with a town as a unit, collectively agreed by the villagers according to the local crops’ maturation. During Bumper Harvest Festival, people of all ages dress in their festival best, either hold an ear of highland barley in hand, or carry Tibetan sūtras on their backs, carrying the harvest tower which is tied with barley spike decorated white hada, beat drums and gongs, sing carols, walk around in the fields. When the festival is over, busy harvest follows.
Butter Lamp Festival
January 15th in Tibetan calendar is the Butter Lamp Festival which celebrates the Buddha and other religious debate victory. On this day people gather on Lhasa Barkhor, make pilgrimages during the day and at night flower stands are put up on the streets, the big one can be high as three-story building, even the lower one can up to two-story building. On the flower stand place a variety of butter made colorful gods, characters, animals and plants, some tall and grand, and some small and exquisite. Dalai Lama and major officials journey the flower lamps and celebrate the festival with the monks and the public, which put lamp day to a climax.
Tibetan New Year
Tibetan New Year is a traditional annual festival for Tibetan people all, monks as well as normal men. However in Tibetan calendar, unlike Chinese traditional calendar, New Year starts from January 1st to January 15th, which lasts 15 days long. As whole people believe in religion, the festival is filled with strong religious atmosphere, a national holiday to entertain God and people, to celebrate and to pray. On New Year’s Eve, every family eats trickled pastry to lay the devil. People make trickled pastry with fillings to predicate family members’ fortune in the coming year. After the meal is the exorcism ceremony, when people throw the left trickled pastry into a jar which contains dough-made devil. During the dropping, people say the words like “left is yours”. Then hold dough in hand, beat oneself at all sides and say “take away evil”, finally throw the dough into the jar. Drive away the body devil is not enough, it also needed to drive the house devil. On New Year’s morning, people dress in new clothes and sit on new cushions, and have the lucky rice which is made of ginseng fruit, butter, sugar etc.
In Tibetan calendar, from April 10th to 28th is the Damar Festival which means horse riding and shooting. Main activities during Damar Festival are scroll painting exhibition, evil dancing, wrestling, horse racing and so on. The people and horses needed for the racing and shooting competition are allotted by the three most dignified nobles in Jiangzi Region. The competition lasts three days. On the first day hold some simple religious ceremonies, and check the horses and brand them with marks, then changing horse is no allowed. The second day is the horseracing competition and the third day is the shooting competiton. After the competition follows s the three-day feasts activities.
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