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Yaks and yoghurt help Tibetans hold on to traditional customs

08-06-2013 13:48 BJT Special Report: Tibet Shoton Festival |
Special Report: This is Tibet |
Special Report: Inside Tibet |

By CCTV reporter Han Peng

Every year, all of Tibet comes to life during the Shoton festival. Meaning "yoghurt", the Shoton was originally purely religious and involved offering yoghurt to Buddhist monks. But as our reporter Han Peng discovered when he went to rural Tibet, even this most traditional custom is seeing changes.

Dadrol was born and raised in a Tibetan village. Like most people here, she makes yoghurt during
the Shoton festival using nature’s gift the yak, which is found everywhere along the Tibetan
Plateau.

Starting in the early morning, Tibetans in rural Lhasa begin gathering their yaks to prepare to milk them.

Despite the hustle and bustle in most other parts of China, people here still live quietly according to their traditional ways.

Dadrol was born and raised in a Tibetan village. Like most people here, she makes yoghurt during the Shoton festival using nature’s gift the yak, which is found everywhere along the Tibetan Plateau.

She says every part of the yak is treasured. Even its dung is carefully collected by herders.

"The dung can be used as fuel to heat up the yogurt. Compared to coal or natural gas, it’s safer, healthier and does not pollute the air. It’s the most natural way, and so the best way." Tibetan Villager said.

But her natural and nomadic lifestyle is slowly changing. This year, she is celebrating the Shoton festival in a brick house, instead of the tent her and her people have lived in for generations.

Dadrol’s children share her enthusiasm for the Shoton festival and she takes great care
to ensure their customs are passed down.

And her husband will be absent from the festival for the first time, as he’s in the city looking for a job.

"In the city, you make far more money than raising cattle and sheep here." Tibetan Villager said.

But even though Dadrol is cooking the yogurt by herself this year, she is staying true to the traditional methods. Home-made and free of any chemical additives, it takes hours to grind the yak milk into the necessary elements.

Then, using the yak dung as fuel, it will be heated up, before being placed under the shade for almost a day to cool down. Only then will the yogurt be ready to serve.

"We cannot live without yogurt, it’s very important for our health." Tibetan Villager said.

Dadrol’s children share her enthusiasm for the Shoton festival and she takes great care to ensure their customs are passed down.

"China’s urbanization has reached far and wide, including the most remote parts of Tibet. But as the region is pulled into modern culture, residents hope to keep their most traditional customs alive. Han Peng, CCTV, Tibet." Han Peng said.

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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