Lhunze County Festivals and Activities

Many Tibetan festival and activities are full of ethnic flavors and religious color. In addition to annual large-scale worship rituals to Buddha and Buddhist masters, Tibetan people will also hold a series of festivities associated with religious life and agricultural production consisting of religious festivals and folk ones. There are over 100 festivals in Tibet and visitors can enjoy most of traditional Tibetan festivals in Lhoka Lhunze County. 

During the festival, Tibetan people will hold a variety of folk and religious activities, where tourists can enjoy the carnival atmosphere with large-scale chanting, dancing to God and Buddha exhibition activities.  Religious festivals are usually held in the monasteries while folk festivals are for ordinary people, who will be dressed in their splendid attire. Fork festivals include dancing and singing in well-dressed costumes and traditional sports competition.

The Onkor Festival(望果节) is one of the best known festival here.

The Onkor Festival (Harvest Festival)

It is an occasion that Tibetans celebrate their harvest. “On” indicates “field” in Tibetan, “Kor” with the meaning of “twining round”, and “Onkor” means “twining round the highland barley”. The festival is popular in the rural areas of Shannan、Lhasa、Shigatse. In general, Onkor is celebrated at the end of the seventh month on lunar calendar just before peasants begin to reap their crops. It is said that the Onkor Festival has enjoyed a history of more than1500 years, and first became popular in the valley area of the middle and lower reaches of Yalu Tsangpo River. In order to ensure the plenteous harvest, the Tibet King sbu-de-gung-rgyal asked the hierarch of Bon religion for guidance. Following the tenets of Bon religion, the hierarch of Bon religion taught the peasants to walk around their field, beseeching the Heaven for a plenteous harvest, which is the origin of the Onkor. During the late years of the 8th century, Tibet came to the Silver Age of Tibet Buddhism when the representative sect was the Nyingmapa sect, and the Onkor activity therefore was tinged with the features of the Nyingmapa sect. In front of the procession people will hold the futures of Buddhism and recite lection. After that, Onkor became the formal Tibetan traditional Festival. With the evolution of the time, the contents and forms of the Onkor changed continuously, including horse riding, arrow shooting, Zang opera etc. Now to celebrate the festival, people, old and young, will dress up, lifting “ harvest tower” made of highland barley and beating drums and gongs, singing in their odes and walk around the fields in prayers for a bumper harvest, and then followed by a horse race, arrow shooting, Zang opera and dances, together with an outdoor banquet.