Shoton Festival is one of the most significant festivals in the Tibetan calendar. If you are planning future trip to Tibet, make this exciting celebration part of your adventure!
In Tibetan language, “Sho” means yogurt. “Ton” means banquet. So you can consider it as a feast of eating yogurt. Shoton Festival is a time-honored and largest traditional festival in Tibet with most activities celebrated in Lhasa, Tibet.
The festival begun in the mid-11th century with a yoghurt banquet offered by local people to monks and pious Buddhists. In early summer, monks only stayed within their monasteries, and Buddhists went into mountain hermitages to do meditation in order to avoid walking on newly hatched insects. When the session is finished, Tibetan people came to serve them with yoghurt. Later on, Tibetan operas were added to the festival as well.
This year's events include traditional Thangka exhibition, Tibetan opera performances and Linkha.The festival will last for one week from August. 30 to September. 5.
At about 8:00 A.M., a huge figure of Sakyamuni embroidered in color is gradually unfolded at Drepung Monastery. At the same time, the first light, blazing through the morning mist, shines on the Great Buddha, opening the prelude of Shoton Festival. Followers start worshiping and presenting Khada to the Thangka, and touch the giant Buddha by forehead to show devotion anf faith. They usually pray for safety, happiness and fortune.
If you want to witness this amazing opening ceremoney, it's suggested to start the trip about 04:30 A.M. as there will be long queues all the way waiting to see this scene as well.
This event is held at Norbulingka Park, formerly the Summer Palace for the Dalai Lamas. The opera is full of dancers, bells, drums, and horns. It normally tells the history and myths of Tibet.
Linkha, in Tibetan language means picnic with friends and families. During the Shoton Festival, there will be singing, dancing, drinking yogurt, etc. This is the best and the most authentic way to experience the festival, by joining in local activities with local people, listening them telling the history and their special culture.
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