We cannot successfully discuss the Shoton festival in Tibet without first talking about the yogurt banquet as it is called. Shoton is formed from the combination of two Tibetan words meaning “Sho and Ton.” Sho means Yoghurt while ton in the Tibetan language means banquet.
In a simple term, Shoton festival in Tibet means yogurt festival which lasts for days or up to a week in Tibet depending on the festival activities
According to the Tibet calendar, Shoton usually starts on the last day of its six months and runs all across the entire Tibet. Generally in August according to the Gregorian calendar in Tibet, and started since the 26th century, overtime, Shoton has gone beyond the usual few days festive celebrations, and has included lots of festivities such as the display of classic festive operas, and games, dances, song, ancient culture, and lots more.
The question now is, how come the famous festival in Tibet becomes the yogurt celebration?
Anyways, yogurt is one of the common foods found almost everywhere in Tibet even though it doesn’t originate from Tibet. Historically, yogurt originates from the ancients Mesopotamia as far back as 5000 BC. However, yogurt came to Tibet through the help of an Indian who learned how to make yogurt from a Turkish trader. Therefore, this resulted in the coming of yogurt in Tibet in the ancient 500 BC
However, since the inception of yogurt in Tibet, it has automatically become one of the most staple food commonly found in Tibet and a steady diet for the Tibetan.
Apart from the fact that yogurt is a staple food to the Tibetan, it’s also used for making healthy face masks. Yogurt was used the same way most of the acne peel is being used nowadays. Yogurt to the Tibetans is mostly used to make clearer skin, softer skin, and rosy cheeks.
Therefore, we can conclude that the coming of yogurt to Tibet results in the introduction of the Shoton Festival in Tibet which has grown to become one of the most significant celebrations in the entire Tibet.
THE SHOTON FESTIVAL – THE HISTORY
The history of the Shoton festival can be traced back to the senior lamas from Tibetan Buddhism. These senior lamas are well-known to spend a hundred days meditating inside the monasteries in Tibet to avoid the killing of any creature found on the ground when they walk around.
And after they have completed their one hundred days in the monasteries, the Tibetans began holding a banquet for the senior lamas to celebrate the completion of their one hundred days in monasteries, which also serve as a way of appreciating the monks for their sacrifice for a hundred days.
As part of the celebration, there were be milk curds available at the banquet, and different delicacies. And since the milk is gotten freely from yak’s milk which later became yogurt, this made the celebration of the monks second to none at that time.
Over time, thousands of people from different parts of the world flock to the festival for the celebration of the monks, and then, Tibetan operas become one of the features of the festival in Tibet.
Moreover, these operas have also been featuring different tales of Tibetan Buddhism and the ancient heroes in Tibet, and since then, yogurt has been used for the festival which has also continued to this day.
BEST PLACES TO SEE THE SHOTON FESTIVAL
The Shoton festival doesn’t just arrive in Tibet; it’s been an ancient celebration of the Monks.
Most of the tourists to Tibet have been a part of the Shoton festival celebration experience, and it’s always a lifetime experience that is second to none.
Yogurt festival as most people call it in Tibet is a festival that runs in almost every monastery in the Tibet region. However, the celebration is livelier in certain areas in Tibet with lots of amazing Tibet festivities, dances, songs, and music, Yoghurt, and different delicacies.
However, for the benefit of those who would love to be part of the coming Shoton festival in Tibet, or those planning to tour Tibet and its amazing sites soon, then ensure you find your way to these places in Tibet for the Shoton festival celebration such as Drepung Monastery Thangka Unveiling, Norbulingka Palace and Park, Potala Palace,
Traveling to Tibet on your next trip is essential, but your experience in Tibet without visiting the best places where you can enjoy your Shoton festival celebration – Yoghurt festival is just incomplete. This is the best place to enjoy the roof of the world experience, Tibetan operas, ancient culture, songs, dances, yogurt, colorful costumes, crowd interaction, Tibetan delicacies, the best nature in Tibet, and many more.
This is a mind-blowing event that has been a significant part of the Tibetan culture with millions of visitors across the entire world.