Tibet People
  Home >> Tibet People >> More foreign tourists celebrate festival

More foreign tourists celebrate festival

More foreign tourists celebrate festival

Tibetan Shoton Festival, which is celebrated on August 4, played host to an increasingly large number of foreign tourists. Tibet Travel Expert coordinated with some of the largest travel companies in Singapore (including Chan Brothers Travel PTE Ltd and Commonwealth Travel) in order to help organize the large numbers of foreign tourists to come to Tibet for this year's Shoton Festival. Promotion in Singapore for the Shoton Festival began six months ago. As a result there was a significant increase in tourists from Singapore who attended this year's festival celebration.

Tibet Travel Expert arranged for tourists to visit Mt. Everest, among other places, after the festival, as they continued their tour of Tibet. Those who have attended the festival in the past have been deeply moved by it. A previous visitor said, "The landscape in Tibet left us with such strong feelings, and the Tibetan Shoton Festival gave us a chance to worship Buddha in his natural home."

The Shoton Festival is one of the most ancient festivals in Tibet. According to the traditional Tibetan calendar, the festival is to be held on 30th day of the sixth month. During the festival visitors from all over the world assemble in Lhasa for the sacred event. Early on the morning of August 4, when the rays of the sun have not yet risen over the mountains, the great mass of participants walk to Drepung Monastery, the largest monastery in Tibet, located in a west suburb of Lhasa. When people arrive at Wuzi Hill, near the Drepung Monastery, a huge figure of Qiangba stands covered by yellow voile. Onlookers stand captivated by the towering figure of Buddha, standing 30 meters high and 35 meters wide, adding to the mysterious ambiance of the morning. The booming sound of the sacred clarions and the aroma of the mulberry smoke saturate the hill. People wait silently for that sacred moment when the figure of Buddha would be revealed. At around 7:40am, when the yellow voile is slowly opened, sudden sunshine radiates upon the figure of Buddha. The pious onlookers are immediately awe struck at the sight of Buddha shinning brilliantly in the sun. The thrilled visitors then respectfully present Hada to the figure of Buddha, one after another, some driven to tears, deeply affected by Buddha's healing presence. The occasion is of such great significance that it has been said even if it is raining on the morning of the unveiling, the rain will stop and the sky will clear, so that the sun can fall upon Buddha.

The Shoton festival, also known by the Tibetans as "the yogurt drinking feast," was initially performed in order to further Tibetan Buddhism more than 700 years ago. Zongkaba, the founder of the Yellow Factor made firm rules which required the Lamas to cultivate themselves according to the religious doctrine from the fourth to sixth month of the Tibetan calendar. After this period, the Lamas could come out of the monastery and local citizens would have a celebration for them where they presented the lamas with yogurt.

There are three major programs with which visitors can be involved during the Shoton Festival: The Tibetan Opera in Norbulingka, the Showing of the Giant Figure of Buddha in the Zepang Monastery, and the picnic in Norbulingka. (Edited by Joehaiyan, China Tibet Information Center)

Copyright 2005-2008 www.presscluboftibet.org