Gyangtse Horseracing and Archery Festival
There are different versions of the origin of the festival. During the festival, horse race, archery contest, and other games are performed to entertain people. Religious activities also are part of the event.
While horse racing and archery is popular all over Tibet, festival organizers are proud of the event being the oldest. It w as first held in 1408, when the king of Gyangtse gave a decree marking the period from April 10 through 27 of every year for prayers and sacrificial ceremony for his grandfather with entertainment offered on the 28th. By the mid-17th century, the original ritual ceremonies became symbolic and contests of archery on horseback grew to be the most important events for the festival. Nowadays, with all kinds of entertainment and fairs organized it has become one of the most important festivals in Tibet.
Around May and June every year, people from all over Tibet gather in Gyantse for horseracing, archery, and shooting on gallop, followed by a few days’ entertainment or picnicking. Nowadays, ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dance, as well as barter trade are added.