- by Beatrice
- Last Updated: 2019-08-02
Curious to know about the inhabitant and their lifestyle in Tibet? Tibet, being part of China, is full of culture and lifestyle. If you ever visit Tibet, you will be impressed by the people there and their unique culture.
In the past, the ancestors of the Tibetans lived in Yaluzangbu River. Around the sixth century, a chief of 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 Tang Dynasty. And he was allowed to be the King of western China by the emperor of Tang Dynasty who was the Princess Wehcheng’s father. 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.
Famous statues from the old Potala Palace. Songtsen Gampo, his Nepalese princess wife on the left and Chinese Princess wife 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 clothing. Being a high altitude area, the local clothes in Tibet are warm, thick, have a wide 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.
Tibetan robes are good to adapt the big temperature difference during daytime and night.
Tibet is the city of various residents including the major 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 population, and they are very friendly, cheerful and bold people.
Tibetans are food loving people, and their diet is unique and delicious. Tibetans love non-veg food; the main food in the region is beef, mutton, and other dairy products. The vegetables are seldom seen in Tibet, specifically, in grassland areas.
Local residents of Tibet also like raw meat. If you visit the local herdsmen there, you will see the dried meat and beef at their places. Perhaps, they have delicious dishes to offer you.
Buttered tea is a traditional drinking for serving guests.
When it comes to drinks, they have various drinks as a part of their food including buttered tea, barely 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
Tibetan live in houses which are always constructed with stones and wood but houses are very stable. The houses 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 in a square shape 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.
Tibetan people made their tents from yark hair, which can not only block the intensive sunshine but also keep warm.
Occupational Life in Tibet
Tibet is the place of farmers, settled in small villages of the 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 the city life in Tibet, most of them are making their living as craftsmen. However, Tibet inhabitants are diverting toward businesses now, but their original lifestyle 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's a five colored hada in blue, white, green, red and yellow, which indicate 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 piece of Hadas on their journeys in case they encounter friend or people being apart for a long time, they want to show good will.
Hada means differently under different situation. During Festivals, people send Hada mutually, to congrats happy holidays and life. During the wedding ceremony, people send 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 for showing their devout. During Funeral, people send hada to express their condolence for the deaths and comfort for the family.
Besides white hada, there're 4 other colored hada in blue, yellow, red, green.
Language in Tibet
The Tibet land was traditionally divided into three dialect boundaries; U-Tsand, Amdo, and Kham. Tibet language belongs to Sino-Tibetan Phylum; Tibetan is the major language spoken in the region. However, English is the language of the tourism business in Tibet. Many of 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 Buddhists 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 Buddhist religion such as Mani stones, colorful prayer flags, and people maneuvering prayer wheels.
Entertainment in Tibet
Tibet residents love to play games and have entertainment 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 Guozhuang festival; a chance for all local to get together to sing and dance. Just before autumn harvest, another charming Wangguo festival takes place here. The festival lasts for three to five days giving people an opportunity 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 the unique experience with Tibet residents who are extremely hospitable and warm to their guests. They offer a gift basket to their guest and make their time wonderful.
Tibetan people and lifestyle always keeps a mysterious veil to the public. In order 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.
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