As one of the essential Tibetan festival, this year’s Shoton Festival has just kicked off in Lhasa. The opening ceremony attracted tens of thousands of people to the Drepung Monastery located in the western part of the city.
Shoton Festival, which literally means "yogurt banquet festival," is an annually held traditional festival for Tibetans. The traditional way of starting the Shoton Festival is to show Buddha paintings. The main contents include Tibetan operas and gala parties, as well as wonderful yak racing and horsemanship display. The Shoton Festival starts on the 30th day of the 6th month according to Tibetan calendar (which falls on August 29 this year) and lasts five days.
The origin of Tibetan Shoton Festival dates back to the 11th century when it began as a religious occasion for local residents to offer yogurt to monks finishing mediation retreats. Around the 17th century, it evolved into an occasion featuring Buddhist rituals, Tibetan opera performances and other forms of entertainment.
This year's festival is held on theme of "Happy Lhasa and Colorful Shoton." The whole celebration falls into six categories with a series of activities including the beer festival and Tibetan opera performances. Visitors in Lhasa should not miss this great occasion.