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The Ongkor Festival

Ongkor Festival

The Ongkor Festival - Brief Introduction

"Ongkor"is the transliteration of Tibetan language, meaning circling the edge of the field. So the Ongkor Festival can be understood as the festival of circling at the edge of the field. On the first morning of the festival, when the sunshine covers the golden cornfield, the farmers would circle and parade around the farmland, with the ear of wheat in their hands. In front of the troop, there is the honor guard making up of Lama and old farmers. They hold the Buddha Statues high, read the Confucian classics, and are grateful to the god for timely wind and rain. For the hardworking farmers, seeing the ripe crop, breathing the delicate fragrance of the cornfield, they feel so joyful and intoxicated that they can't help singing the harvesting songs. The Ongkor Festival is a traditional festival of Tibetan People to celebrate the harvest joyously. The festival is popular among the Lhasa, Shigatse and Shanman areas. It is held in July and August of lunar calendar used by the Zang nationality, and the specific time varies with the farming season. Generally, it is held when the highland barley ripes and two or three days before the harvest, lasting for one to three days. The Ongkor Festival is held in the unit of village and the villagers have the right of talking over the specific items of the festival.

The Ongkor Festival - The History

The Ongkor Festival has a history of more than 1500 years. According to the historical records, in the 5th century, in the Yarlugn area, water channels have been built, wooden plough were used to cultivate the fields, and the agriculture is developed. At that time, in order to assure the bumper harvest of crop, the Zang King, Budegognjie, requested the hierarch of Ben Religion to give an order. According to the religious doctrine, the hierarch taught the farmers to circle the field, praying for the god to protect the crop, which was just the Ongkor, but it was not a formal festival then, just an activity before the harvest. After the 8th century, Tibetan was in an age of prosperous Buddhism, and the Ongkor Activity was under the color of Ningma Religion. In the 14th century, the initiator of Gelu Religion, Tsongkhapa, came to Tibet, after the rectifying, the Gelu Religion became the main religious sect and in the whip hand. Then the Ongkor Activity was infiltered with the color of Gelu Religion. Later on, with the development of the age, the content and form of Ongkor activity varied a lot.

The Ongkor Festival - The Features

With the intense tum, an old man, wearing a blue opera mask painted with stars and a colorful robe, comes on the stage first. The shoulder of the old man carries copper bells and precious sword, with a holy walking stick twined with white hada in his hand, called dada, and with the rhythm of music, he dances to the center of the stage. The old man began to wave the holy stick to conduct the dancers. Under the conduction of the old man, the 8 drummers begin their beating. All the drummers are one in a hundred, in good fettle, wearing colorful shoulder cape, with the 60-centimeter-diameter drums hang on their waists, with the mallets in their hands, they beat and dance, changing the formation dexterously and quickly. Sometimes, they revolve in the formation of circle, sometimes they are in two groups to shuttle back and forth. The variation of the formation heightens the joyous atmosphere and the bright and brave dancers display the content of different pases. The whole process is the display of the men's fighting in the battlefield and confronting the enemy heroically till they return home in triumph. After the inspiring drum dance, there comes the lyric lento, which is as gentle and quiet as the embroider women.