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Tibet Nagqu Horse Racing Festival

The Horse Racing Festival is a unique festival in grazing area of Tibet. It is usually held between June and July in Tibetan calendar, when the pasture is lush and horses and cows are stout and strong. The horse racing is seen every year, but a large one is held every two or three years. It will last several days, with the longest ones over ten days. The most famous ones of them are the Kyagq��n Horse Racing Art Festival of Nagqu and Darma Festival of Gyangze.

As the horse racing starts, herdsmen will come from a long way, wearing colorful clothes for festivals, and all kinds of jewels and ornaments. They come by horse or yak. Tents will instantly surround the horseracing field.

The event includes horse racing and horsemanship. The horse racing intends to test the controlling ability of the horseman and the viability, exploding force and stability of the horse. There are long-distance and short-distance horse racing, covering thousands or hundreds of meters. The horsemanship match has such contents as shooting arrows, target practice, chopping, picking up hada and offering highland barley wine on the horse. The atmosphere is comfortable and the event is more a performance than competition. There are no detailed rules for the match. In addition, such programs as two-man tug-of-war and carrying huge stones are also performed. As night falls, people make a campfire and sing and dance around it.

After the democratic reform is carried out, especially in recent 20 years or so, the horse racing has been endowed new meanings. The scale becomes larger, the forms diversified and contents more colorful. While preserving the traditional programs and new ones such as folk dance, art performance, fashion show and folk costume display, people also start inviting bid for business and trade, commodity exchange, science popularization, law publicity and medical care. The horse racing festival has become a grand ceremony to boost economy and accelerate economic development.

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