- by Beatrice
- Last Updated: 2020-06-30
Curious to know more about the inhabitant and their lifestyle in Tibet? Tibetans are the most popular ethnic minority group in China, with a population of 7,500,000. As the aborigines of Qinghai -Tibet Plateau, Tibetan people mainly live in Tibet Autonomous Region, and some groupings in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.
Tibetans are one of the oldest ethnic groups in China and South Asia. They have a long history of more than 1300 years, mysterious Tibetan Buddhism, unique language, nomadic lifestyles, splendid culture including very high attainments in literature, music, dance, painting, sculpture, architectural art, etc. Here's just a brief introduction to Tibetan people.
In the past, the ancestors of the Tibetans lived in Yaluzangbu River. Around the sixth century, chief of the Yarlung tribe defeated many tribes to become a king. The name of the king was Zanpu. In the 7th century, Songtsen Gampo, the grandson of Zanpu, unified the whole Tibet and moved to Lhasa city. This is the so-called Tubo Kingdom in many Chinese histories today. In 1614, Songtsen Gampo got married to Wencheng, who was a princess of the Tang Dynasty. And he was allowed to be the King of western China by the emperor of the Tang Dynasty. At around 710, Xidezuzan, who is the king of Tibet then, also married Princess Jincheng from Tang Dynasty. Since then, Tibet and China have established good cooperative relations on culture, politics, and economy. In 1934, the Chinese government set up an affair office in Tibet, which led to the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Songtsen Gampo, his Nepalese wife Princess Bhrikuti on the left and Chinese wife Princess Wencheng on the right.
The lifestyle of the Tibetans does not change until the 7th century. Most of them wear robes in their daily lives and most of the herdsmen in Tibet spend all their lives in this place by grazing sheep and yaks. Their women usually wear many precious jewelry and flowers in their hair. And some of them cover their hair with clothes. Tibetan people will wear gorgeous clothes and their most beautiful headwears to participate in various annual Tibetan festivals such as Saga Dawa Festival, Ganden Thangka Festival, and Shoton Festival, etc.
Clothing in Tibet
Just like their charming personality, people in Tibet wear unique and traditional dress. Being a high altitude area, the local clothes in Tibet are warm, thick, have a full waist, long sleeves, and skirts. Their clothing is made of silk, wool, cotton, and sheepskin. To maintain the body temperature in hot weather, they take off one or two sleeves and tied about the waist. For night sleep, they take off two sleeves and use the same clothing as a big sleeping bag.
Tibet is the city of various residents, including the significant population- Tibetans, and other inhabitants such as Menpa, Luopa, Han Chinese, Sherpa, Hui, and some Deng inhabitants. The major population, Tibetans, are 92% of the local people, and they are very friendly, cheerful, and bold people.
Food in Tibet
Tibetans are food-loving people, and their diet is unique and delicious. Tibetans love non-veg food; the leading food in the region is beef, mutton, and other dairy products. The vegetables are seldom seen in Tibet, specifically, in grassland areas.
Residents of Tibet also like raw meat. If you visit the local herdsmen there, you will see the dried lamb and beef at their places. Perhaps, they have delicious dishes to offer you.
Butter tea is traditional drinking for serving guests.
When it comes to drinks, they have various beverages as a part of their food, including butter tea, barley wine, and sweet tea. Other famous regional foods include Zabna and butter. They used a small amount of ghee and soda to soak tea together, add salt, and stir with a long stick for a few minutes. Most of the Tibetans regard ghee as a luxury when making tea.
Tibetan Architectural Style
Tibetans live in houses which are always constructed with stones and wood, but very stable. The apartments are one or two-story alleys with a round window inside. Also, the yak hair tents are always built in the area they pasture. These tents are usually square with pillars supporting it. Many of these structures can withstand wind and storms. They always have a table for worshipping Buddha because of their belief.
Occupational Life in Tibet
Tibet is the place of farmers, settled in small villages of Tibet. Farmers make their livestock from the main crop, barely, while roaming nomads in Tibet earn their living by herding sheep and yaks.
If we talk about city life in Tibet, most of them are making their living as craftsmen. However, Tibet inhabitants are diverting toward businesses now, but their original lifestyles will not disappear.
Hada in Tibet
Hada is the most common etiquette in Tibet, which is a white scarf made of silk. They assume that it signifies goodwill and honor, and they always present it during the festival or departure of a visitor.
Apart from the white hada, there are five colors for hada. Namely, blue, white, green, red and yellow, which indicates separately blue sky, white clouds, green river, red Protective God and yellow land. The five-colored Hada is only consecrated to Bodhisattva and close relatives as the most precious gift. Also, Tibetan people always enclose a mini Hada in the letter for greeting and expressing good wishes. What is particularly interesting is that Tibetans also take several pieces of Hadas on their journeys in case they encounter friends or people being apart for a long time, they want to show goodwill.
Hada means differently in different situations. During Festivals, people send Hada mutually, to congrats happy holidays and life. During the wedding ceremony, people carry Hada to wish the new couple affectionate and to be with each other forever. During greeting guests, people send Hada to pray for bodhisattva's blessing, and it's a kind of way to show the devout. During Funeral, people carry hada to express their personal condolence for the deaths and comfort for the family.
Language in Tibet
Tibetan is the primary language spoken in the region belonging to Sino-Tibetan Phylum. The Tibet land was traditionally divided into three dialect boundaries; U-Tsand, Amdo, and Kham. Like other ethnic groups of China, the people speaking different dialects may feel difficult to have a dialogue with each other. While the Tibetan language is spelled in the ancient Tibetan phonic symbol and does not get influenced by dialectical pronunciation, so they can write in the same way. In recent years, English is the language of the tourism business in Tibet. Many Indian merchants in Tibet speak Hindi, whereas Nepalese merchants speak Nepalese.
Religion in Tibet
We see the mix of religions in Tibet where most of the people are Buddhist followers, and few of them are believers of old Bon. In Lhasa and Yanjing, few followers of Islam Catholicism are also seen.
Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery are the famous religious places. In the streets, you will see significant elements of Tibetan Buddhism such as Mani stones, colorful prayer flags, and people maneuvering prayer wheels.
Entertainment in Tibet
Tibet residents love to play games and have enjoyment in their life. They enjoy distinctive traditional entertainment activities like wrestling, horse-racing, tug-of-war, and archery.
Knows as ‘Sea of Dance and Songs’, Tibet residents love music and dance. You will enjoy their fabulous dance and music if you visit the area. Moreover, various ethnic festivals are held in the region every year.
In the spring season, after plowing of crops, they enjoy the Guozhuang festival, a chance for all locals to get together to sing and dance. Just before the autumn harvest, another charming Wangguo festival takes place here. The festival lasts for three to five days allowing people to wear their favorite clothing, make colorful prayer flags, sing, and dance, beat drums, and walk around the fields. Horsing racing is another charming feature of this festival.
Every Tibetan people can dance Guozhuang to celebrate festivals.
If you are planning to visit Tibet, you shouldn’t wait anymore. A lot of charm is waiting there for you. You will have a unique experience with Tibet residents who are incredibly hospitable and warm to their guests. They offer a gift basket to their guests and make their time pleasant.
Tibetan people and lifestyle always keeps a mysterious veil to the public. To explore this holy land, a lot of travelers head to Tibet. Maybe you will come someday. Please feel free to contact us to help you.
Related Articles & Posts
Tibetan language is referred to as Bodic or Tibetic language. Now, it's widely used in the northern part of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. We will brief introduce the history, alphabets, notable features, words and grammar of Tibetan language.
Tibetan Nomads have found a way to survive in the extreme adversities to adapt to the climate conditions of cold temperatures and drought. We will show you more about their living environment, lifestyle, tent, as well as six famous Tibetan Prairies.
The basic characteristics of Tibet traditional clothing are that the Tibetan robe must also be worn with an inner garment, right front part, a large waist, a pair of wide and long sleeves. Tibetan dressing culture is rich in connotation and diversity, with certain structural features, differences in levels and regions, and some specific rules.
Tibetan food is waiting for you in Lhasa. A mix of healthy and delicious cuisines honed and perfected through years on the plateau. Popular dishes include Tsampa, butter tea, yak meat, yogurt, etc., which are also the staple diet in Tibet.
To understand the Tibet religion as a whole, we should start from understanding Yungdrung Bon, which is the indigenous region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. After Buddhism spread to Tibet from India, it's also been greatly influenced by Bon religion.
Tibetan architecture is bound to be influenced by people's emotions and mentality, which are derived from the specific natural environment and historical accumulation. In terms of architectural form, it conforms to the environment and turns adverse factors into opportunities as well as creation.
Khata, transliteration of Tibetan. It's a kind of silk and cotton fabric. Most of them are white and blue. Offering "Khata" means to show purity, sincerity, loyalty, and respect to the other party. It is the most common Tibetan courtesy.