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Tibetans celebrate Bal Lhamo Festival in Lhasa

Author:tibetbest.net     Last updated:2013/12/17 17:03:28     Onclick:1456

Smoke from burning juniper branches, prayer flags and wheels, and the sound of prayers and laughter filled the air in Lhasa on Dec 17 as Tibetans celebrated their annual Bal Lhamo Festival.

The religious festival has become a particular favorite of women in Lhasa.

Like most of her fellow Tibetans in Lhasa, Metok Drolma woke at the crack of dawn on the day to worship the statue of the Bal Lhamo deity at Jokhang Temple.

"On this propitious day, I woke up at 3 am and arrived at the Jokhang Temple at 5 am. I am pleased to worship the Bal Lhamo deity, and this time my hope is to find my true love next year, and to marry him as soon as possible," she said.

One of the main religious festivals of the year in Lhasa, it is a one-day event.

Locals, especially females, make a pilgrimage to the Bal Lhamo deity on the day, where they pray to find love and woman pray to become more beautiful.

"I profited around 1,000 ($160) yuan from my colleagues," said Lhamo Tsering, a Tibetan businesswoman, as women can also ask for money from men on the day.

That can prove costly for males with many female friends. Yulha Tsering, a fireman who works in the Potala Palace in Lhasa is an example.

"I feel regret having many female friends, because I have given more than 1,000 yuan this morning, yet I enjoy the day," he said.

"I will take my female relatives for dinner tonight, otherwise I will have to empty my wallet," he said with a big smile.

The Bal Lhamo Festival is observed on the 15th of the 10th month according to the Tibetan calendar.

The daughter of Palden Lhamo - one of the protective deities in Tibetan Buddhism - Bal Lhamo fell in love with Tizunzan, who is also a protective deity of Jokhang Temple.

When this was discovered by Palden Lhamo, she punished Tizunzan by making him stay on the south bank of Lhasa River, and the lovers promised to meet once a year across the river on that special day.

Tibetan women feel sorry for Bal Lhamo so, every year on the day, they dress in their finest clothes to worship the deity at the temple, and ask that their own true love will run smoothly, said Lukyab Tsering, a researcher at the China Tibetology Research Center.

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