Tibet has the name of “the ocean of singing and dancing ”. Tibetans are fond of sing and dance. During festivals, you can see the elders, youth and even small children singing and dancing wherever you go. Farmers sing songs while working and circle to dance when the harvest season comes. People in the pastoral areas are always holding campfire parties. The singing and dancing can last the whole day and night. If the weather is good, people usually bring their family members outside during holidays, to drink barley beer, sing and dance from morning to night. Singing and dancing is not only performance on the stage but also a kind of hobby and interest of the common people. Dancing is everywhere and everyone can dance in Tibet.
THE MAIN FESTIVALS
Tibetan New Year:The Tibetan calendar comes from 1027.A.D. The first day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar became New Year’s day. This is the most grand and important festival in Tibet. It holds the same importance as the Spring Festival in the inner land of china. THE GRAND SUMMONS CEREMONY:It is the largest religious festival created by Master Zongkapa in 1409. Thousands of Buddhist monks meet in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa to recite sutras, debate on philosophical and ethical issues and offer praises to Buddha. Geshe degrees are given to those who are eligible. Alms are given this day. SAGA DAWA FESTIVAL:This is the most sacred day to celebrate Sakyamuni’s birthday, completion of enlightenment and parinirvara. Buddhist followers go to Lhasa to rotate the prayer wheel. THE SHOTON FESTIVAL:It is one of the most important festivals in Tibet. It is also known as the Yogurt Drinking festival. Tibetan opera troupes from all corners of Tibet present their performances. BATHING FESTIVAL:Legend says that when Venus appears in the sky, bathing in rivers may cure illness, so Tibetans take baths in rivers for health and longevity.
CUSTUMS AND HABITS
Whenever walking or talking, guests and elders are always given priority, and are spoken to in polite manner. For example “la” should be used after a guest’s or elder’s name to show respect. Tibetans are always bent forward slightly with a smile on their face to show their respect. While sitting in someone’s room, stretching your legs and places the soles of your feet toward the others is not polite. People should accept gifts with both hands. This is also done when you present gifts to others. Both hands should also be used when hosts serve tea and cigarettes to guests, do not put your fingers into the tea or bow. Tibetans do not eat donkey, horses’, dogs meat and they don’t eat fish in some areas. As a guests, one should use the third finger of the right hand to dip into beer or wine three times and flick it up to the sky to show the respect to heaven, the earth and the older generations. When the host serves the wine or beer, after the three dips, drink a little, the host will fill up your glass and do like this three times, the fourth time is bottoms up if you are able. When the host offers Tibetan butter tea, the guests should wait till the host is finished serving it, better not to make any sound while drinking. People should walk clockwise when visiting the monasteries, Mani piles, Buddhist pagodas etc. Do not step over religious articles, books, and also pots or stoves. The prayer-wheel must also be spun clockwise. Do not touch others on the head.