|Jan. 26, 2018 -- As time arrives in the twelfth month of Tibetan lunar calendar, farming areas in southwest China's Tibet has been covered in the atmosphere of New Year.
What's the New Year's taste in farming areas?
It tastes like the sweet and fragrant tsampah and mellow highland barley wine, both of which are made of the highland barley planted on the plateau. When highland barley is fried and grinded into flour, it is made into tsampah, and when steamed, it is made into wine.
The farming area where highland barley is principally planted for generations have the tradition to celebrate the New Year on the first day of the twelfth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar so as not to go against the right farming season, whereby the festival is also called "Farmers' New Year" and the highland barley also add some other taste to the festival compared to the Tibetan New Year as a result.
Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, is one of major highland barley produce area and the Farmer's New Year here starts on November 29th of the Tibetan lunar calendar, when people will paint harmonious symbols such as precious umbrellas, goldfish, treasured vases with tsampah inside their houses apart from cleaning their home and the courtyard.
The highland barley in Farmers' New Year is auspicious, warm, and a blessing to people.
On the second or third day of the New Year, friends and family will visit high places or temples to raise prayer flags. As the flags fly in the wind, people throw tsampah to wish for a good weather and prosperous year.
The most unique customs of the Farmers' New Year is to pat tsampah on each other under the prayer flags. Whether acquainted or not, people will take out a handful of tsampah from their Tibetan bag and lightly pat others to offer a blessing.
Every year on the fifth day of the first lunar month of Tibetan calendar, the Palcho Monastery will stage a "battle of tsampah" to mark another climax of the festival.
When the party finishes, the tsampah throwing to each other and falling onto the ground will be collected and made into animal feed.
Until the spring cultivation begins and highland barley seedlings grow out, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau will usher in a new round of auspicious, warm and prosperous season.