Horse racing is an indispensable activity to all the Tibetan festivals along with the history of Tibet. You will see there is Horse Racing Festival nearly in all the mighty area in Tibet, such as Gyantse, Nagqu, Damgxung, etc. Today, we are going to introduce the Damgxung Horse Racing Festival to travelers who are into Tibetan culture.

Name
In the Tibetan language, Damgxung Horse Racing Festival is also called “Damg Jiren” Festival. “Damg” means Damgxung, “Jiren” means a ceremony of praying. In the beginning, Tibetans competed for skills of riding horse, exchanged commodities, celebrated harvest by singing and dancing together. Afterward, the leader of the tribes invited Lamas to chant scripture and pray for the next year before holding the feast. Thus, this festival involves some religious and political overtones.

The tents set up for the competitors and visitors during the Damgxung Horse Racing Festival

Time
It’s held from July 10th. to 16th. according to the Tibetan calendar every year, which is usually August in the Gregorian calendar.

Venue
Around 4,300 meters (14,107 feet) above the sea level, there is an extensive grassland which is surrounded by mountains. It’s called Karba meadow, a part of Qiangtang Highland. Tibetans set up the race course here, as well as hundreds of tents for competitors and visitors.

Activities
1. Of course, the most important part is the horse racing. The horses attending the competition are taken good care of by the jockeys. The fodder is the best, and bath with cold water to get acclimatized with the cold weather. The jockeys are usually young men from 12 to 20 years old. They will show their skills, such as picking up a tiny target on the ground when riding, and the winners will get some medals and prizes, like money and Hadas. But the most important prize that the winners focus on is the respect from other people.

2. Archery contest is another significant activity during the festival. In the past time, only the leaders of the tribes were allowed to participate in this competition. Thus, it’s kind of a game for nobles.

3. Lasting for 7days, this festival is also a romantic time for Tibetan young men and women. Because it provides a chance for them to chase after the people they like. When the festival begins, all Tibetans gather together, dressing up the most beautiful custom clothes, singing and dancing to celebrate the harvest after one year of hard work. Many young people find the soul mate in this festival.

4. According to the Tibetan calendar, it’s the harvest season of farm and pasture products in July and August. Consequently, Tibetans will exchange their products as well as items in daily use in the fair. Many merchants from far and near will go to the rally. It’s a very crowded market, people exchange agricultural products and living supplies, such as potatoes, Tea, Wheat, and so on. Even people would come to collect their debts in the old times.

Tips
The Damgxung Horse Racing Festival of 2017 will start from 8th. to 14th. August. Contact us for more details if you are interested in it.

The dressed-up Tibetans are dancing on the grassland

 

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