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Top Eight Customs of the Tibetans


Praise is a Sweet Poison

In Tibet, compliment, even a kind and sincere one, is not necessary a welcoming ice breaker during the Tibetan’s daily life. One writer once praised how lovely the girl of his landlord is in Lhasa. To his surprise, the girl’s mother angrily draggled her way. Only after consulting a local did he realize that compliments, in the Tibetans’ view, will bring ghosts’ jealousy, which means huge trouble. From then on, this writer holds his tongue tight and never utter praise to any Tibetan anymore.


Wine equals Hospitality &Sincerity

Wine bridges the Tibetans together during parties, grand occasions and Tibetan New Year. A whole case of homemade barley wines or beer is considered the best gift. To show friendship and sincerity, the Tibetans find it hard to decline the toast from a friend or a host. Year in and year out, the Tibetans are well-trained drinkers. To spice up their affair with alcohol, small needles are tucked away in their coats to punish those refuse to drink.

Himalayan Porters

The Sherpa people have contributed a lot by guiding numerous mountaineers into the forbidden land along the Himalayas. They have evolved into a new specie with a higher concentration of hemoglobin (which helps to transport oxygen within our body), which helps them to survive the peak of Mt Everest without an oxygen tank from the beginning to the end.

Do not make Promises Carelessly

A journalist visited Sakyam Monastery in 2012, he talked with a lama there for a whole afternoon about life and philosophy, and they became good friends. Upon departure, he promised this lama to lend him the book Archaeology in Tibet. However, he forgot about this promise totally after returning to Beijing. One year later, when he revisited this monastery, he was cold-shouldered by all the lamas. He thought hard and finally found out the reason: he broke a promise unintentionally and was deemed as a liar.

Walking Banks

In Korqag, a frontier Tibetan village neighboring Nepal, all the Tibetan women wear sumptuous attires and ornaments. A complete set of them costs over 1000,000 RMB in 2005. Hence, these ladies are jokingly referred as “walking banks”.

Life and Death

When Tibetans fall ill, some see a doctor, others consult a soothsayer or a shaman. Superb medical skills or Mana(supernatural power) are not the highest norm here, instead, a benevolent heart counts. The Tibetans take life and death in an aloof and detached manner. They are optimistic fatalists, if anyone suffers from a fatal disease and is dying, he or she will not grieve over the sad fact, instead, he or she will focus on the afterlife waiting ahead and cherish new hope for it.

The present life is deemed as a corridor into the afterlife. Life and death are just journeys.

Salute to Deities

The Tibetans believe in that each mountain is an incarnation of a specific deity. Hence, whenever they trek through a mountain pass, they take off hats, dismount from the horse or spread “horse wind flags” into the air as signs of homage.

Grateful Hearts

Jiang Kun, a renowned contemporary cross-talker built a school in Tibet years ago. To welcome him during his second visit, students there prepared dozens of Hada in advance. He politely asked the students to bestow some Hada to his foreign friends. To his surprise, none obeyed. All of these Hada were given to him instead. They were about 80 of them. The Tibetans are very grateful. No matter how trivial your kindness is, it will be remembered for a century and evena thousand years. Princess Wenchang, a Han princess from the 7th century, who helped to turn backward Tibet into a civilized world, still lives in their heart.
Author: Sophia             Posted on Oct 30, 2013


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