The Bathing Festival usually falls on the first ten days of July according to Tibetan calendar. Lasting a week, it is also known as the Bathing Week. In Tibetan it is called "Gamariji," meaning Qishan star, or Venus. As the star rises to the sky, the mass bathing starts. As the star sets, the bathing ends. Legend goes that bathing at this period is beneficial to health. According to Tibetan Buddhism, the water in Tibet at this timehas eight advantages: sweet, cool, soft, light, clear, clean, unharmful to throat, nor to belly. Judged from the natural environment and climate of Tibet, the river water has a relatively high temperature and is suitable for bathing. During the seven days, tens of thousands of Tibetan men and women go to river or lake to have baths. The tents, big or small, dot the beach and Lingka into a colourful world.
Ongkor Festival (Bumper Harvest Festival)
The Ongkor Festival is an old festival in farming areas of Tibet held in each August according to Tibetan calendar when all crops are waiting for harvest.
"Ongkor" in Tibetan means "surrounding the farmland." Major activities include horse racing, shooting, singing and dancing, Tibetan Opera, stone holding and wrestling. The "Ongkor" not only shows people's wish for a good harvest, but also a good time for them to rest. Since crops ripen in different times, the festival is held accordingly.
The Ongkor Festival originated in the valley at the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. The initial form is offering sacrifices to gods by natural villages to pray for a good harvest.
Zetang in Sharman Region holds the Ongkor Festival in mid-summer. Each family sends out a representative, mostly woman, to form a 100-member team. They are dressed in grand Tibetan robes, wear their gold and silver jewels, carry dou (a measure for grain) and scripture book showing a good harvest on their back and hold colourful arrows. Under the leadership of a revered man and accompanied by the sounds of ritual trumpets and drums, they move round the farmland outside the village, shouting: "Yangguxiu! Yangguxiu!" (meaning "Come back, the soul of the earth!" ) The old villagers will burn mulberries on the way the Ongkor team must pass to worship gods.