Why So Many Festivals in Tibet

Most foreign tourists may be curious about why there are so many festivals in Tibet. Basically, there are four reasons to explain for it. First of all, the natural conditions contribute to the massive festivals in Tibet to some extent. Tibet is distinguished as the Snowy Land of the highest elevation around the world. The harsh natural conditions of Tibet imperil the subsistence of Tibetan people at all times, which is especially prominent in ancient times. Therefore, in order to survive in such inclement weather conditions, Tibetan people have no other choices but resort to pray to the nature that’s because they consider the nature is in charge of their rights to survival. This sort of primitive worship expressed out through certain forms evolved into various festivals as time passed. Hitherto, contents in Tibetan festivals concerned worship of the celestial deities, earth deities, spirits of mountains, god of harvest, divinity of hunting, and so on are still able to be seen universally.

The second point worth mentioning is the factor of population. Due to the adverse environment circumstances, the population of Tibet has been at a low level of development all along. Meanwhile, Tibet owns an extensive terrain, which makes the already small population appear even rarer. Hence, people here have had stronger desires to communicate with each other and with the outsiders as well. For the sake of meeting people’s requirements of pining for getting together, the way of people gathering and exchanging feelings on festivals came into being. Besides, the festivals have had changed the monotonous life of Tibetan people in the past and enabled people express feelings, enjoying the spirit of happiness. If you had been wandering around the highland path for thousands of miles alone, and eventually run into a person, you would understand why the Tibetan people like celebrating festivals so much.

Here comes the third reason, it is owing to the forms of their life and work. By making a careful analysis of the reason for the naissance of Tibetan festivals, we found that festivals in pastoral areas are obviously of animal husbandry, such as the Horse Racing Festival and the Grass Cutting Festival while those of rural areas have strong characters of agriculture, like the Ongkor Festival, etc. These are the festivals emerged with long-term mode of production and the way of Tibetan people’s life. At the same time, in Tibet where the commodity economy is underdeveloped for a long time, it is very hard to achieve self-sufficiency. Therefore, festivals provide a chance for not only exchanging their minds and feelings but also their products and working experience to achieve the purpose of maintaining reproduction.

Another factor is from the need of spreading Buddhism. We all know that Tibetan Buddhism is not the aboriginal religion of Tibet instead, it is exotic and thus, the numerous festivals have contributed to the development of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. Through this channel, Buddhism is spreading over this vast territory faster, and became more widely accessible and more easily understandable. Exactly thus, we can understand why there is so strong a relation between Buddhism and the festivals; why so many Buddhist holy days are celebrated by lay people; and why the religious rituals can so be so harmoniously fused with the folkways.

A great number of Tibetan festivals are of the purpose for the emotional release. Tibetan has long been enjoyed the reputation of an artless, bold and unstrained nation. They dare to demonstrate their true emotions, treating people in good faith and celebrate their own festivals in the simplest, the most significant as well as the liveliest way. By the releasement of feelings, the Tibetan people project their solidarity, which is represented not only in each individual family holding affinity and cohesion but also in the whole nation uniting closely, indicating the integrity of the nation. Besides, through emotion release, festivals show that they are a nation of advancement. They pursue truth and reality, daring to combat and have courage to forge ahead, which fully revealed the group consciousness and the overall style of the whole nation. On the other hand, through festivals, we are able to better understand the group of practical, brave and hard-working people.

Related articles
Tibetan Festivals This page introduces some most important Tibetan festivals such as Tibetan New Year, Butter Lamp, Saga Dawa, Shoton festivals and celebration date contrast.
Tibetan Arts This page tells about some typical Tibetan art and culture.
The People of Tibet This page tells about Tibetan people’s characteristics, tradition, religious believes, ways of living, and etc.
Ethnic Religions Learn more about Tibetan religion and culture before traveling to Tibet.
Lhasa Heritage Hotels We list some Tibetan traditional hotel recommendations for your consideration.
Tibetan Nomads Tibetan people are an ancient nomadic nationality, having long lived a nomadic life in their history. Therefore, nomadic culture has also played an important role in Tibetan traditional cultures.

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