Tibet is located in the southwest of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, with an average altitude of over 4,000 meters, which is known as the “roof of the world”. Nowadays, traveling to Tibet has become more and more popular. More and more people want to explore the pure land of Tibet. If you plan to have a Tibet Trip, you should know the Tibetan culture in advance. Tibetan festivals are an important part of the Tibetan culture. Here will introduce to you some information about the Ongkor Festival, one of the most important festivals in Tibet.

Overview

Ongkor Festival, a harvest festival celebrated by Tibetan farmers, is popular in Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan district and other places in Tibet autonomous region. The festival time is between July and August in the Tibetan calendar every year, and the specific date varies with the change of farming season in different regions. Generally, it is held two or three days after the barley is ripe and before the harvest. Therefore, the Ongkor Festival’s schedule takes the township as the unit, according to the local crop maturity condition by the villagers’ collective agreement.

It is said that as early as the end of the 5th century AD, King Budegongjian of Tibet asked the Buddha of the Bonismo how to ensure a good harvest. Buddha issued a decree, let the farmers around the field, by holding the incense burner, holding high the banner pole as a guide. Then people put all kinds of grain in the granary and shrine, pray for good weather and harvest. At last, people had a big picnic together. After the festival, the tension of the autumn harvest work will officially begin.

On November 11, 2014, Ongkor Festival was approved by the state council to be included in the fourth batch of national intangible cultural heritage list.

Brief Introduce

“Ongkor” is translated from Tibetan, which means “circle around the fields”. The Tibetan word “Wang” refers to a farming day, and “Guo” means turning in a circle. The Ongkor Festival is translated as “a day of wandering on the edge of the field”.

History

It is said that the Ongkor Festival has a history of more than 1,500 years. In the late 8th century, Tibet entered the flourishing period of Indian Buddhism represented by the Nyingma sect. The activities of the Ongkor Festival had the color of Nyingma sect.

In the 14th century, the founder of the Gelug sect, Tsongkhapa, came to Tibet. Through the reorganization of various religious sects in Tibet, the Gelug sect became the dominant religious sect in Tibet. At this time, the activities of the Ongkor Festival infiltrated more Gelug sect colors.

With the continuous development of the times, the content and form of the Ongkor Festival are also changing.

Festival Customs

On the first morning of the festival, when the sun is shining on the golden fields of wheat, farmers with ears of the wheat parade around the fields. After turning the wheat fields, it was customary to hold mass recreational and sports activities in the square, including the Tibetan Opera, singing and dancing, horse racing, archery, tug-of-war, and so on. At the same time, religious ceremonies are also held on this day.