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Ongkor Festival - Bumper Harvest Festival

02 June 2022 Last updated at 17:48

Ongkor Festival is an old festival in farming areas of Tibet held between July and August in Tibetan calendar (usually in August or September in solar calendar) when all crops are waiting for harvest.

"Ongkor" in Tibetan means "surrounding the farmland". Major activities include horse racing, shooting, singing and dancing, Tibetan Opera, stone holding and wrestling. The "Ongkor" not only shows people's wish for a good harvest, but also a good time for them to rest. Since crops ripen in different times, the festival is held accordingly.

Ongkor Festival

Ongkor Festival

The Ongkor Festival originated in the valley at the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. The initial form is offering sacrifices to gods by natural villages to pray for a good harvest.

Tsedang in Lhoka Region holds the Ongkor Festival in mid-summer. Each family sends out a representative, mostly woman, to form a 100-member team. They are dressed in grand Tibetan robes, wear their gold and silver jewels, carry "dou" (a measure for grain) and scripture book showing a good harvest on their back and hold colourful arrows.

Under the leadership of a revered man and accompanied by the sounds of ritual trumpets and drums, they move round the farmland outside the village, shouting: "Yangguxiu! Yangguxiu!" (meaning "Come back, the soul of the earth!" ) The old villagers will burn mulberries on the way the Ongkor team must pass to worship gods.

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