Horse Racing Festival – Litang
The Litang Equestrian Festival is by far the most important in the region. It takes place every year from the 1st to the 10th of August. Every 5 years the events are even more impressive, the next will be in 2020.
Many Tibetans who have kept their nomadic way of life and scattered in the vast spaces of the plateaus, to regroup occasionally is a necessity and a social as well as economic pleasure. One generally chooses the end of July beginning of August for its meetings, when the climate is at its best and the flowers are hatching.
They are intended to allow people to meet their relatives and distant families as well as to make new acquaintances.
Tibetans sometimes say, “For young people, this festival is the best time to meet people and start a love story.” Children far from their parents by their life in the city or monastery, spend an intense moment of sharing and conviviality.
This is an opportunity to sell its production (art, meat, vegetables, butter …) and get what you will need to spend the next winter with the money collected.
What are the festivities?
Tibetan nomads, lamas of surrounding monasteries and inhabitants of Litang pitch their tent in the meadow around the city. If some arrive on horseback and make fire to cook, others organize a real move in 4 × 4! The notables of Litang have in their tent television, electric plates, sound system, kettle and heating.
The days leading up to the festival are not particularly exciting. They are nevertheless an opportunity to discuss with his tent neighbors, to eat local specialties and to make parties of everything with the nomads.
The festival consists of four main activities:
-The races and acrobatics is the main attraction and gave it its fame. The winners become the heroes of the festival.
-Dance competitions between troops wearing their best outfits.
-It is also a festival of arts and crafts that are on display and sold.
-Finally, it is the occasion of a great fair where everything is bought, traded, traded and sold! Many people practice trading “in the sleeve” out of sight.