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Religious Taboos

Time: 18-10-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

1. Kowtow

Kowtow is a traditional etiquette of Tibetan, which is practised in worshipping Buddha sculptures, pagodas and living Buddha, some times also for visiting the prestigious and the elderly. There are three forms as kowtow of full length kowtow, short length kowtow and kowtowing with sound. It’s common to find people practising kowtows of full length and short length in Johkang Temple, the Potala Palace and other monasteries. When practising kowtows, people put palms together, hold them higher than head. Then holding them from top of the head to forehead and keep still before chest, then bow three times and prostrate on the ground with both hands parallel evenly on the ground, and practise it three times. Pious Buddhism pilgrims can constantly practise full length kowtows from Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, Gansu and Lhasa, with three steps one kowtow. Such a pilgrimage could last several years. When making a kowtow with sound, men, women, the old and the young all hold palms together first and bow to under the feet of Buddha, knocking the Buddha slightly by forehead, which means penitence.

 Kowtow in Tibet
Kowtow in Tibet

2. Spin Prayer Wheel

Tibetans commonly believe in Buddhism, usually chanting scriptures and spinning prayer wheels. To spin a circle of prayer wheel is equal to chanting scriptures once. Hence, spinning prayer wheel develops into a daily activity of Tibetans. Each family has a prayer wheel. Prayer wheels varies differ from sizes and materials, however, all have Buddhism scriptures inside.

  Spin Prayer Wheel
Spin Prayer Wheel

3. Free captive animal

It’s not only a simple folk custom, but closely related to the religion. The doctrine of universal relief gives the idea to free captive animals so it had formed a tradition. It’s practised roughly in the similar way. That is to free captive animals to nature and let them survive naturally. Freeing captive animals, as a Tibetan culture and tradition existed all the places of Tibet. Though depending on their ecoromis levels, the means, motives and purposes as well as to what extents may differ. Usual it shows their gratitudes, love, blessing for safety of their family members, protecting ecosystem and saving animals.

4. Light butter lamps

With numbers of butter lamps, Tibetan delivers endless piousness to the deties and get blessing from them. In every morning, besides going to temples, butter lamps are lit in every Tibetan families as all Tibetan families have their own chapels to enshrine Buddha sculptures. Hence, every household not only offer tea, refill water bowls and also lights butter lamps in front of the niches of Buddha sculptures in the morning. So Tibetan family has a great consumption of butter.

According to scriptures records, lighting butter lamps has ten functions that the world turns intotorches, let the fire of wisdom never be locked, and make human beings’ eyes become fantastically bright, distinguish kindness and unkindness, be able to eliminate obstacles and darkness of ignorance so as to acquire wise heart to keep the world away from darkness, and reincarnated in higher levels and be out of sufferungs quickly.

5. Buring incense

Buring incense is the oldest and the most popular sacrificing activity. People using branches of pine trees and cypresses with spice to burn together. The white smoke of the incense means praying. Sang, pronounced in Tibetan, means smoke or smoke fire, and burning incense means, offering uprising incense can be held in a lot of places, for instance, on the hill, in the river banks, lake sides, on the house roof, in or out side of temples, beside manistones. Buring incense is also an etiquette for greeting living Buddha, high ranking monks, and honorable guests.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Ms. Ho*** from: When to get my Tibet permit

Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.  


1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?  

2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?

Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. Ho***,

    Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards

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