Attending a festival or national event is just one of the ways many travellers to China time their trip to perfection. As a leading provider of Tran-Siberian experiences, we provide the journey of a lifetime courtesy of our rail cruises, and the opportunity to stay in the most fantastic destinations on the planet at the most magical times of year.
Many of our customers visit China during the Mid-Autumn Festival and Cherry Blossom season to experience the culture of Chinese cities and towns at its best. Another top event that should be included in your itinerary is the Shoton Festival, a Tibet-based celebration full of fun, drama, and cultural insight.
Extend your trip to nearby Tibet by visiting next year’s Shoton Festival. Keen to find out more about this popular traditional festival in the meantime? Read on, for our essential guide to the Shoton Festival.
What can I expect from the Shoton Festival?
As one of the most popular traditional festivals in Tibet, the Shoton Festival offers an array of things to see and do. Those with an interest in Tibet, and in particular Tibetan Buddhism, will love the dramatic performances, competitions, and entertainment on display. Himalayan Glacier shared their thoughts on the Tibetan culture on display during the Shoton Festival, an account that provides an insight into just what to expect when you attend:
“The weeklong event, also known as the Yogurt Banquet festival, started with the “sunning of the Buddha” ceremony held in the 600-year-old Drepung Monastery… Tibetan opera performances were also staged at the Norbu Lingka park during the festival, attracting more than 80,000 people each day. Accompanied by lively drum beats, performers wearing masks painted with elaborate patterns danced passionately for their audiences. Surrounding the stage, the viewers, most of whom were Tibetans, sat on their own rugs or stools and drank homemade butter tea and highland barley wine while watching performances by different troupes.”
The festivities don’t end there! Dramatic Tibetan operas are vital parts of proceedings and must-sees for those visiting the Shoton Festival. There’s no chance of you missing them either, as operas are performed from 11am until dusk every day.
When does the Shoton Festival take place?
The Shoton Festival takes place during the late sixth or early seventh month of the Tibetan calendar, which is our August. It does fall on a different date every year, so be sure to check your calendar prior to deciding when you should travel to China. This year’s festival began on Saturday 11th August 2018 and finished on Friday 17th August 2018.
The festival is held once a year across a variety of destinations, breathing new life into a number of Tibetan towns and cities. Both locals and visitors alike flock to celebrate the Shoton Festival, and have done since it was introduced during the 17th century.
Where’s the best place to experience Shoton?
The best place to experience the Shoton Festival is Lhasa, which is a city and the official capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. Celebrations take place all over Lhasa, including in streets, squares, and monasteries throughout the city. Want the best view of the festivities? Head to Norbulingka, in the western part of the city – which is the palace and grounds of the Dalai Lama.