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Shoton Festival is second only to New Year in Tibet

08-06-2013 09:25 BJT Special Report:Inside Tibet |

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By CCTV reporter Wang Mangmang

For Tibetans, the Shoton Festival is second only to their new year. People get a week off to pray and play. The word Shoton means yogurt banquet. But these days, it takes on all forms of celebration.

The search for enlightenment begins here. For six hundred years, the Drepung Monastery has been one of the most important in Tibet.

This is the first stop for Tibetans to mark Shoton. This is a time to worship and pray.

CCTV reporter Wang Mangmang said, "The festival dates back to the 11th century. Monks would spend weeks in retreat in summer to protect tiny creatures, like ants, from being trampled to death. And when they emerged, commoners would give them yogurt. With the passing of time, the tradition has changed, but the name remains."

The Buddha Exhibition marks the opening of the festival. The ceremony has been a yearly ritual at Drepung for two centuries.

Lobsang, Deputy Director of Mgmt Committee, Drepung Monastery, said, "We’ve broadened and renovated the walkway to accommodate more worshippers, to allow easier movement up and down the hill. As for the monks, there will be no special preparation."

Wang said, "Now things are pretty quiet here. The tangka of Sakyamuni, one of the biggest in Tibet, is lying in this hall. Monks will chant scriptures and sound the horn to welcome in the big day. And crowds of worshippers, hundreds and thousands of them, will climb overnight to pray."

And now it’s show time. Some 500 farmers and herders from around Lhasa are rehearsing the spectacle. Director Jamtsuo feels both the honor and pressure to put things together and make sure it remains a Tibetan thing.

Gyatyong Jamtsuo, Director of Shoton Festival Opening Gala, said, "This is going to be a state of the art show in Tibet in terms of technology. But the performances are purely traditional."

The Tibetan identity is inseparable from their spirit. Shoton is a time to express their devotion, to renew their connection to the past.

For Tibetans, the Shoton Festival is second only to their new year. People get a
week off to pray and play. The word Shoton means yogurt banquet. But these days,
it takes on all forms of celebration.

For Tibetans, the Shoton Festival is second only to their new year. People get a
week off to pray and play. The word Shoton means yogurt banquet. But these days,
it takes on all forms of celebration.

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CCTV.com

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