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Shoton ( yogurt) Festival

It’s one of the Tibetan traditional festivals. In Tibetan, “sho” means “Yoghurt” and “ton” means “banquet”. So Shoton Festival is also called the ‘Shoton Yoghurt Festival’. Subsequently, as the activities of Shoton Festival gradually changed into an activity with Tibetan opera as a major part, so people also called it the Tibet Opera Festival.

Prior to the 17th century, Shoton had been an exclusively religious observance. The month of June on the Tibetan calendar was reserved for the Shoton Festival. It is cultivation and meditation for all the monks who were not allowed to go out of monasteries until 1st day of Seventh month. when local residents would offer alms of yogurt, that’s how The Shoton Festival came into being. From around the mid-17th century, Tibetan local operas were added to festival celebrations.

In the beginning of the 18th century, Norbu Lingka was built and acted as the summer palace of Dalai lama. Then the main site of the festival was moved to Norbu Lingka and celebrations became formalized. Accordingly, the fixed Shoton Festival was established. In the old Tibet, the activities of the Shoton Festival went like this: on the 29th of the sixth month, troupes all through Tibet would go to the Potala Palace and registered in the local government. Curt performances was given at the ceremony and then they would give respect Dalai lama at Norbu Lingka, and returned to Dreprung Monastery in the evening. On the 30th , Tibetan opera would be performed all day at Dreprung Monastery.

All the officials would assemble at Norbu Lingka and enjoyed the performances with Dalai lama. At noon, a banquet was given to treat all the officials, and Yoghurt was served. The residents in Lhasa and peasants from suburb would dress up ,take along food and drinks and go to Norbu Lingka for the performances


The shoton origin

Mid summer of every year, snow area plateau vegetation initiation, pest birds hatch, everywhere is delicate branch leaves larvae, young birds, a bit not pay attention, and will cause the death of the young lives. This in the buddhist discipline, is the biggest taboo. Buddhist temple has a strict regulation, every summer three months, banned monks to temple outside activities, only in the temple tall wall inside long net, practice, reading, of course, called “elegant le”, meaning “sit summer”, and that “summer live”. Lhasa is located in plateau, the season is late, zhe clams, salad temple and “elegant” time regulation, for Tibetan June 15 to July 30 days. Buddhists who stayed in the temple, the day boring, and the lack of rich food, the mood some anxiety, many people have to go out the mind of the play. And this season, the field FengMao aquatic plants trees, cows ChangBiao, milk also enriched. BaiShengSheng, TianSiSi of yogurt, in the people’s table, hidden things called “snow sand”, meaning “new dairy”. People think of the temple of the living buddhas sit summer monks, they bring fresh white yogurt, to comfort the door and dedicated to them. Some of the song and dance groups and near Tibetan opera group, also to give their song and dance performances and Tibetan opera, this is the reason for the formation of the earliest sholton. Still have a kind of such arguments: the hills behind drepung monastery, live some evil spirits, they especially afraid of buddhists who doesn’t practice, leave no stone unturned wants to destroy and trouble. In the buddhists who retreat to practice is less than half the time of day, believers and donor sent yogurt, Tibetan opera singing and dancing group also send entertainment programs, monks were eating and drinking and see the plays, the devil are thought they had no idea to the practice of dharma and so to give up the idea of undermining the trouble. Buddhists who thus can continue to ease sit summer, until July 30, of the solution of the system. The 17 centuries middle period, Tibetan Buddhism sect has local regime of Tibet, the fifth dalai lama AWang lausanne jia cuo on the throne of the chief. He lives in a house of GanDan drepung monastery chapter, set up the Tibetan local government. The Tibetan June 30,, is his the tonsure anniversary, it is old and new iron stick lama drepung the handover,, gave it a day for the annual sholton legal.

Later, the fifth dalai rebuild the potala palace, the local government also move to there from drepung monastery, part of the sholton activities, and transferred to the potala palace of the central plaza DE above summer. The late eighteenth century, in the western suburbs of Lhasa built large garden norbulingka, the dalai lama, the Tibetan each year in March to October, want to drive the norbulingka move for the summer. The centre of the sholton and transferred to the norbulingka. From then on, Lhasa appeared several sholton, drepung monastery, the potala palace, the norbulingka sholton sholton sholton. And zhaibung evenly matched, is also one of the sect huiji sera also unwilling fall behind, also do a sholton, called sera sholton.
Drepung monastery sholton
The Tibetan June 30,, for the sholton drepung monastery. The festival first project, is the steep slope of the west in the temple on the court satin Buddha colossus exhibition. It was not bright, the whole Lhasa and restless up, hundreds of thousands of men and women from the mainland and believers and foreign tourists, flooding in the western suburbs of Lhasa drepung hillside, gathered in the exhibition Buddha rock, looking looking forward, ShuSe fan Meng, from nearly monks, carrying the volume growth of dragon of satin figure of Buddha, with amazing the pace of neat, out of the temple area drepung monastery, through rock bottom, along the winding path, on top of the hill quickly. Had already gathered in the pilgrims believers on both sides of the road, have flocked to Buddha, and some ZanBa, some offer hadad, some USES forehead conflict of Buddha, telling desires, some took the opportunity to squeeze into carried the Buddha do an example, is pleased to follow Buddha forward, all of these are in order to let the Buddha give bless, give a good qualities.

Temple, west of the hillside, with white canvas matting into a Buddha field, the field is so big, two basketball court and broad than. Volume growth figure of Buddha of the dragon, carried on the high rock top, have already waiting in the lama here and simmer for chanting, bowed down to meet. Four lama musicians, in the top of the rocks, and exalted the glittering suona, to the glow, blow out was warm and melodious music. In the deep of the zurna SongJingSheng loud and MingZou sound, the figure of Buddha slowly exhibition fell, Buddha kindly face gradually unfolded itself, this is a big unbelievably color satin colossus, covered the whole ten layers of a steep slope. I understand it, the image of Buddha about 30 meters wide, forty metres long, area one thousand two hundred square meters. When the Buddha shakyamuni let show come out, thousands of pilgrims are creeping in believers, repeatedly kowtow worship, heat and smoke god, Yang and ZanBa, laid hadad, prayer sounded like the waves of the ups and downs, everyone was Buddha’s lofty and great and intensively thrilled.

In the figure of Buddha, there is a more open to negotiations, hundreds of monks, chanting prayers here from all over the Tibet twelve a Tibetan opera group and GeWuDui, and perform a wonderful program, skin drum oscillation, melodious instruments, this is an important part of the sholton and their a dedication to Buddha. Exhibition of Buddha time isn’t very long, about an hour or so. The sun rises from the top of the peak, the golden light shining on top of figure of Buddha, the buddhists who drepung monastery and neat begin, take the huge Buddha slowly rolled up, or by the nearly young monks up and sent back to a town called the temple of sand plunge xikang preservation, the sholton show again until next year. Exhibition Buddha time so short, main is afraid of the color satin figure of Buddha is the sun the change color. Besides, Lhasa summer more rain, if a early rain down, and the loss is bigger.

Finished a Buddha, actor, and audience and part of drepung monastery monks, into a house GanDan chapter, sat together and eat sour milk, sugar with them to eat rice, the irony, happiness is unusual, perhaps this is the yogurt feast! To participate in the performance of twelve drepung sholton group, of which six white mask Tibetan opera group, including from the south NaiDongXian snow, Joan “trek, the county, and such as brezhnev at Penn

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