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<-Back to WTN Archives A ten-day annual Tibetan opera festival starts in Dharamsala (ANI)
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, March 25, 2004



3. A ten-day annual Tibetan opera festival starts in Dharamsala (ANI)


Dharamsala - ANI, India
March 25, 2004

Dharamsala came alive on Tuesday when the annual Tibetan opera festival
called "Shoton" got off to a colourful start.

The festival was inaugurated by the exiled Tibetan religious leader the
Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama, revered by Tibetans as the reincarnation of a long line of
Buddhist kings, belongs to the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism and has been
living in Dharamsala since 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese
rule.

Dharamsala is the headquarters of the Tibetan government in-exile in India.

Hundreds of tourists and Tibetans living in exile in India converged in
Dharamsala on Tuesday to take part in the "Shoton" festival. Traditionally,
the "Shoton" festival is celebrated on a full moon day to mark the end of
long summer retreat of monks and originated at the Drepung Monastery of
Lhasa in Tibet around 14th century. The festival took its name from "Sho" or
yoghurt served to the monks and nuns practising purification rituals during
the time and ate no meat during full moon days.

This was also the time when operatic re-enactments of stories from the life
of Buddha and his previous births were held. On Tuesday, a large number of
people in Dharamsala watched artists from the Tibetan Institute of
Performing Arts (TIPA) enacting plays, representing the traditional Tibetan
theatre. The festival also served as a forum for the Tibetan artists from
across India to display their art.

"We are celebrating this 10th annual Shoton festival here in exile and we
have seven participants from outside Dharamsala and from TIPA we have a
total of eight participants," said Kalsang Youdon Dagpo, Director of Tibetan
Institute of Performing Arts. Participants said the festival is held every
year to keep alive the tradition of "shoton", which is a dying art form in
Tibet because of cultural and religious repression by Chinese authorities.
"Yes, by this, we are preserving our Tibetan tradition in general. The
preservation of the traditions is important for any community in the world.
For the Tibetans it is preserving their culture, dances and the costumes
also," said Genpo Tashi, a Tibetan artist. The 17th Karmapa Lama, who fled
Lhasa and arrived in Dharamsala in January 2000 after an arduous 1,400 km
journey through the snowbound Himalayas, was also present on the occasion.

The festival showcases Tibetan culture and spreads the teachings of Lord
Buddha through operas and theatres. In Tibet, opera troupes perform Lhama,
the Tibetan opera based on the lives of famous figures in Tibetan Buddhism
to receive the blessings of the Dalai Lama.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Governments statments UN Commision on Human Rights in Geneva
  2. China cracks down on TV station that showed Tibetan flag (RFA)
  3. A ten-day annual Tibetan opera festival starts in Dharamsala (ANI)
  4. Obituary of 'Tsemonling' Dawa (TIN)
  5. Tibetan Girl Becomes Australian under 10 Chess Champion (TN)



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