Gyangze Horse-Racing Festival

Gyangzê Horse-Racing Festival

Four days in May-June
Masked and costumed dancers and traditional operas dominate the first day of this Tibetan festival. They are performed in the courtyard of the Kumbum, known for its 112 chapels and multi-tiered stupas or monuments. But the next three days are devoted to sporting events on horseback, the Tibetans being renowned for their horsemanship. Archers on horseback shoot at targets while riding at full gallop, and some events involve riding yaks instead of horses.
The festival commemorates the highest (in terms of altitude) battle in history, which took place between the Tibetans and the invading British troops in 1903. The British, under the command of Sir Francis Younghusband, slaughtered 600 Tibetans at Guru before moving on to GyangzÉ. He then marched into the capital, Lhasa, and forced the acceptance of a trade treaty with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's ruler.
CONTACTS:
China Tibet Information Center
3/F A2 Building (Rongfeng 2008) BLK 8
305 Guang An Men Wai St.
Beijing, Xuanwu District 100055 China
86-10-5833-6057
eng.tibet.cn
SOURCES:
WildPlanet-1995, p. 295