Damgxung Horse Racing Festival
- by Caroline
- Last Updated: 2023-02-28
Horse racing is an indispensable activity for all Tibetan festivals along with the history of Tibet. You will see there is Horse Racing Festival nearly in all the mighty areas 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.
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 horses, exchanged commodities, celebrated the 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.
It’s held on July 10th. to 16th. according to the Tibetan calendar every year, which is usually August in the Gregorian calendar.
Around 4,300 meters (14,107 feet) above sea level, there is an extensive grassland that is surrounded by mountains. It’s called Karba meadow, a part of Qiangtang Highland. Tibetans set up the racecourse here, as well as hundreds of tents for competitors and visitors.
- Of course, the most important part is 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 to 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 respect from other people.
- 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.
- Lasting for 7 days, 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 in the most beautiful custom clothes, singing and dancing to celebrate the harvest after one year of hard work. Many young people find their soul mate at this festival.
- 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 for daily use at 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.
The Damgxung Horse Racing Festival of 2022 falls in July. Contact us for more details if you are interested in it.
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