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Tibet Shoton Festival - A Living and Dancing Museum of Tibetan Culture

 2018-08-01    Heather    Activities    Lhasa    3045  

Besides festivals, you can hardly find a better way to  learn the individuality of a region, whether through food, music sports or any other forms. Shoton Festival, for example, speaks for Tibet in the best way. This grandest festival shares equal heft as Tibetan New Year.  At the festival, visitors can expect an exploration beyond turquoise lakes and snow-capped mountains - cultural and religious inspiration.


In 2018, Tibet Shoton Festival will be celebrated from August 11-17.

As a time-honored festival with 1000-year history celebrated at Drepung Monastery, Potala Palace, Norbulingka Park, Shoton Festival has rooted deeply into local Tibetan's life. This festival is also a  perfect window for visitors to come and explore this mysterious land for its  cultural, religious treasure. This one time purely religious festival is now a public festival open for the whole nation. Marvelous activities including Tibetan opera performance, great Buddha display, yogurt savoring, horsemanship and yak race are attracting both local Tibetans and visitors.

Yogurt Banquet
The name Sho (Yogurt) Ton (Banquet) indicates the festival's connection with yogurt. As the early summer sets in, Lamas will  retreat inside their monasteries to avoid stamping on little insects of the  season. Upon the end of the hermitage penance, they are offered homemade yogurt  by pious local people, as a token of their gratitude. It is believed that livestock  of local families offering milk for yogurt to lamas will be blessed, free from  disease, getting lost or wild animal capture. Besides yogurt, dairy delicacies  such as milk power tablets, milk candies, curd cakes, and yogurt cakes are also  savored at the festival.

Buddha Ceremony
A prelude ceremony where thangka (giant Buddha painting  on silk) will be sunbathed usually on the hillside near the monastery. Pilgrims  and visitors flood to the site very early in the morning before sunrise. At  8:00AM, the ceremony starts. Spectators stare in awe as the thangka being unfurled to its full 500-square-meter. In this purification of the soul, they  kneel down and lay pieces of hada beside the Thangka as homage to the Buddha.


Tibetan Opera 
Inside Norbulingka, Tibetan artists from all over Tibet  come to Norbulingka for a competitive performance of Ache Lhamo (Tibetan Opera)  everyday from 11:00AM till nightfall. Crashing cymbals, bells and drums; piercing recitatives; hooded villains, leaping devils, swirling girls with long  silk sleeves, together contribute to a stunning opera feast.


Gala Parties at Norbulingka
In gorgeous Norbulingka Garden, people find preferred  location, ideally under the tree and by the water, and put up colored canvas  tents. In party groups, they enjoy a full-week relaxation picnicking, chatting, dancing, sharing stories, and playing cards. To catch up with the trend, modern elements such as TV, karaoke and video games have also been introduced  recently.


Getting There & Around

To join in the celebration of Shoton Festival in Tibet, foreign visitors have to meet two requirements: travel permit to Tibet and a  tour guide.

With Chinatouradvisors, there are a ton of more to explore in Tibet.  A Lhasa Shoton Festival 6 Days Tour will lead you to marvel at Drepung Monastery during Shoton Festival, as well as worldly renowned Potala Palace, Barkhor Street, and Namtso Lake. Check for tour detail

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