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Shoton Festival kicks off with "sunning of Buddha" ceremony
update:August 21,2020
Aug.21,2020 -- Aug.19th, 2020 is June 30th of the Year of Iron Rat on the Tibetan calendar. Shoton Festival, one of the most important traditional festivals in Lhasa, kicked off with a huge Thangka painting of the Buddha being unveiled on a hillside.

Photo taken on Aug. 19, 2020 shows the monks of Drepung Monastery unveiling the 40 meters long and 37 meters wide satin-made Thangka bearing the image of Gautama Buddha.
Shoton Festival is also known as Yogurt Festival. It’s said that to avoid killing animals in spring and summer, monks belonging to the Dge-lugs-pa school of Tibetan Buddhism conducted closed-door practice. They would not walk out of rooms until Jun. 30th. On the day, monks displayed a giant Thangka painting and believers presented yogurt to them. That’s the origin of the Shoton Festival.
Sang Ningxia, a PhD student majoring in Tibetan music, brought a recording pen and a camera to record the details of the "sunning of the Buddha" ceremony. To learn more about the ceremony music, she visited Drepung Monastery a day in advance and talked with the monks.

Photo taken on Aug. 19, 2020 shows a huge Thangka painting displayed during a traditional "sunning of the Buddha" ceremony at the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
Sang said that she gets a glimpse into the inheritance and development of the Shoton Festival through the study of Tibetan Buddhist music. The past several centuries have witnessed the evolvement of the festival. It has gradually developed from a local religious gathering to a grand cultural fest incorporating religious activities, artistic performances, business promotions and tourism.
By:Zhou Tianyu
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