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Tibetan New Year in Kongbo Area

As the first festival throughout the year, Tibetan New Year is the most ceremonial festival in Kongbo Area of Shigatze Prefecture, central south Tibet, in the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley.

It is a festival for families to get together, and it’s celebrated just as the Han ethnic people celebrate their Spring Festival.


The Origins of Kongbo New Year

The legend goes that Kongbo Area faced war during the early period of 13th century.

When Kongbo tribe leaders called on all their people to prepare for the war, they didn’t know when they could return home owing to the long distance from their hometown to the battlefield. So they decided to celebrate the New Year on 1st of the tenth Tibetan month in advance before they went for battle.

The Kongbo Tribe won the victory over their enemies eventually owing to their great tenacity, since when it’s become a tradition for them to celebrate the New Year on the 1st of the tenth month according to Tibet calendar.

The "Feeding the Dog" Custom

There is a unique custom in the Kongbo New Year celebrations. On the evening of the last day of the year, each Kongbo family will put foods prepared for the New Year into a wood plate, then put the wood plate in the middle of the yard and let the dog eat those foods.

It is believed among the Kongbo people that the food the dog eats will predict something in the following year.

For example, if the dog eats the cuo (a kind of food made of roasted barley flour), people believe there will be a good harvest in the following year. If the dog eats cheese or butter, people think that livestock breeding will be good. If the dog eats dried peach, people think that all the family will have a lucky year.

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