Annual cultural gathering and carnival for Tibetans

The Shoton Festival is second only to New Year in its importance in the Tibetan calendar. More than 200-thousand Buddhists along with throngs of tourists come to the capital Lhasa to celebrate.

The word "Shoton" means 'yoghurt banquet', and it's the name of a Buddhist festival that has being going on for a thousand years. But with horsemanship displays and Yak-racing, it's not all sour milk and scriptures!

The Shoton Festival originates from the 11th century, but with the addition of Tibetan opera in the 17th century, has become a nationwide gala showcasing Tibetan religion, culture and tradition.

Visitors may also be drawn to the ceremonial unfolding of a Tangka-painting scroll or simply stretch out in the sun in Norbulingka Park.

Others may opt for 'English Corner' at a book club in the city center. There, Chinese learners get to practise their English and exchange ideas.

Many visitors stay in tents for the seven-day event - an opportunity to sleep on the grasslands and enjoy a family get-together.

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