Lhasa well prepared for upcoming Shoton Festival

Shoton Festival (or Xuedun festival), is one of the major traditional festivals celebrated on the Tibet plateau, featuring Buddha Painting unfolding, Tibetan opera performances, folk singing and dancing as well as other local shows.

Today, modern connotation has been endued to this time-honored festival while rich traditional flavors are reserved with distinct ethnic characteristics as well as profound culture content.

Besides traditional celebration activities, the festival has developed into a pageant for attracting investment, business exchanges, products display and tourism introduction.

Spreading Tibetan ethnic culture

"Shoton" means "yoghurt banquet" in Tibetan language. So as the name suggests, it is a great time to savor various yoghurts.

The yoghurt festival originated 1,000 years ago. In the middle of the 11th century, herders and farmers offered yoghurt to monks who ended their annual summer meditation retreat. Later it had turned to an important festival by the end of 17th century when Tibetan people stage grand Tibetan dramas and hold a big Buddha portrait display ceremony to celebrate.

At the beginning of 18th century, altogether 12 Tibetan drama performing teams joined the celebration, and the venues extended from the Drepung Monastery to the Potala Palace and the Norbu Lingka. Till then, the celebrations for this annual event were fixed.

Jiga, office head of the Shoton Festival Organizing Committee, introduced that the celebration of Shoton Festival has gradually been developed after the Democratic Reform in Tibet in 1959. Besides the traditional Tibetan drama performance, more and richer activities are added to this festival, i.e., troupes performing ethnic songs and dances, enterprises exhibiting their commodities.

Colorful celebration activities

"The activities of Lhasa's Shoton Festival in 2011 will be divided into six categories with 18 sub-category programs, such as unfolding the Buddha painting, performing of Tibetan Opera, exhibition of intangible heritages, traditional horsemanship, yak racing, Tibetan tug-of-war, etc." introduced Ma Xinming, vice mayor of Lhasa .

Ma said, some modern activities have been planned, including hiking tour in Mulberry Road, horse-racing festival, photographic exhibition, model contest, beer festival and so on.

In addition, during the Shoton Festival, mayors' forum on cities of happiness and trade exchanges will be held. "All preparations for such activities are going on well," said Ma Xinming.

Boosting development of related industries

In July of 2010, officials from the municipal government went to Beijing, Hong Kong and other places to promote the Shoton Festival. The intensive campaigning also helps boosting the local tourist industry and cultural industry through a comprehensive and distinctive introduction of Tibet's history and tourism resources.

The promotions with fantastic ethnic singing and dancing shows at inland cities received more than 1,000 people, handed out over 8,000 brochures, posters and investment guide booklets. The efforts further strengthen inlanders' desires to visit Tibet and join the Shoton Festival.



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