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Lhasa celebrates Shoton Festival (3)

(Xinhua)    13:15, August 22, 2017

Buddhists and believers carry a large thangka painting of the Buddha for exhibition at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, Aug 21, 2017. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/Asianewsphoto]

Dating back to the 14th century, the performance style epitomizes Tibetan culture, combining dance, chanting and songs, and the region's famed painted masks. It was awarded national intangible cultural heritage status in 2006 and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009.

"The legends the operas tell are well-known among Tibetans. Although we young people can't understand every line like the older generation, we're familiar with every character. I hope my child can learn more about the opera, so I will take her to the show," Kunga said.

In addition to exhibitions, Tibetan opera performances and Tibetan equestrianism, the week-long festival will also include hiking, yogurt-eating and beer-drinking contests, and a Tibetan-style fashion show.

The Shoton Festival, also known as the Yogurt Banquet Festival, has been held since the 11th century. It was originally a religious occasion when locals would offer yogurt to monks who had finished meditation retreats.

In the first half of 2017, Lhasa received about 3.86 million domestic and foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 18.21 percent, generating tourism revenue of about 5.1 billion yuan ($764 million).


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