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Tongren Shaman Festival


About Shaman Festival

Tongren Shaman Festival is celebrated by the Tibetan and Tu ethnic
minorities in the villages of Tongren County in western China's Qinghai
Province. It is a grand and festive occasion for local people to show their
devotion and gratitude to the Mountain God.

The Tibetan and Tu ethnic minorities in Tongren County worship the
Mountain God as the immortal who protects them. The belief is believed
to date back to the ancient worship of totems in the pre-civilization era of
this part of China. During the festival, the villagers dress up in their
holiday best. Females are done up in ornate, dazzlingly embroidered
holiday costumes, which are adorned with gems. They assemble at the
Temple of the Mountain God, singing and dancing to entertain the
Mountain God.

Of all the activities of the festival, the most amazing, if not shocking,
practices are the Shangkouqian, Shangbeiqian and Kaishan rituals.
They are each conducted by the shaman, or wizard, who also presides
over the festival.Shangkouqian means to pierce steel needles through
the mouth. The process involved in Shangkouqian goes as follows: the
shaman, on behalf of the Mountain God, pierces one or two steel
needles about 25cm long,which somewhat resemble trussing needles,horizontally into either cheek. They generally pierce both cheeks on the
samelevel of the mouth. This unusual and somewhat morbid, to an outsider, practice is believed to prevent diseases from entering the mouth.
A few minuteslater, the shaman pulls out the needles and blows on the "wounds" made by the needle points as a symbolic act of healing the
punctured flesh. The unusual practice is not a sight for the faint-hearted to witness, yet the young males who submit themselves to being pierced
in this way do so eagerly.Throughout the ritual (up to four needles may be inserted in the cheeks, two from either side of the face), the participants
show no signs of suffering pain, but remain calm and collected. Surprisingly, no blood seeps from the "wounds" thus created.

Tongren Shaman Shangbeiqian is quite similar to shangkouqian, except that it is even more incredible: a bundle of
twenty or so long needles are inserted into the male dancers' backs. Again, though onlookers
unfamiliar with the ritual may shrink in horror, the participants consider it an honor and a privilege to
practice their ancient religion in this way.

This ritual is performed exclusively by the male dancers during the Tongren Shaman Festival. This
somewhat bizarre form of "acupuncture" is believed to impart strength to those who practice it, and
the dancers continue their dance ecstatically, seemingly feeling no pain.The third ritual, Kaishan,
marks the end and also the climax of the festival. Kaishan means "to cut an opening". At the end of
all the celebrations, the shaman makes a slit into his forehead with a knife, and uses his own blood
as a sacrifice to the Mountain God.These ancient traditions, perhaps not unlike the rather morbid to
onlookers, Christian practice of self-flagellation in certain parts of the world, are performed in a spirit
of piousness and reverence toward the "patron saint" of the Tibetan and Tu peoples, the Mountain
God.

2017 Shaman Festival in Tongren (Repgong)


Tongren Shaman Festival is celebrated by the Tibetan and Tu ethnic minorities in the villages of Tongren County in western China's Qinghai
Province. It is a grand and festive occasion for local people to show their devotion and gratitude to the Mountain God.

The Shaman Festival will held on 15th June Chinese lunar calendar, it will be 28July 2017.

Xiahe Road
(Shaman Festival )
Shaman Festival
(Shaman Festival )
Shaman Festival
(Shaman Festival )
Shaman Festival
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TIBTE travel, without Tibet travel Permit — Why not travel to Amdo ?

For foreign tourists, travel to Tibet( Tibet Autonomous Region) is required a TTP ( Tibet travel Permit ). Why not travel to Amdo? The Amdo and
Kham regions, also considered to be TIBET to the Tibetan people, make up 50% of the land mass of the Tibetan Plateau and are home to 60% of
the total Tibetan population. In many regards, the Amdo and Kham regions are better places to go to experience traditional Tibetan culture. Most
repeat travellers
to Tibet agree that Amdo are the best regions of Tibet to travel to.

 
 


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