Bon Festival

Approximately 10% of Tibetans follow the Bon religion, which despite being considered as the ‘old’ religion, didn’t develop until the 11th century, well after Tibetan Buddhism. Bon festivals are held on special religious dates, and provide an opportunity for villagers from around the district to down tools, socialise and catch up on the news. Each village area has its own shaman, and during the festival the shamen compete to reach the highest level of ecstasy. The villagers line the road, waiting for the shamen and their supporters to arrive, then the whole group creates a procession to the temple grounds.  Here ritual sacrifices of food and alcohol are made on the central fire. Dancers take over centre stage after the sacrifices.  The women wear the most glorious hair ornamentation, and that plus the jewellery consist of the wealth of most families. The festival lasts all day, and few people leave to find food.  Instead, tea (or beer) and dry bread are consumed on and off all day. No-one wants to leave the festivities to cook.

Leave a Reply