Tibetans greet new year with giant Buddha and dancing

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

On a steep hillside outside the Rongwo Monastery in China’s north-western province of Qinghai, an enormous thangka was unrolled in a splendour of rich pinks, greens and blues to the sound of firecrackers and the wail of conch shells. Scores of monks and men had earlier heaved the thangka – an image of Buddha painted on silk, rolled up in a tight cylinder while in transit – through the packed streets around the monastery for a religious ritual wrapping up Losar, the Tibetan new year. According to one of the monks, the thangka is an offering to Buddha, but it must be big so all living creatures can see it – people, but also birds and insects. In that way, all beings will have a chance at a better existence in their next life.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2018, with the headline 'Tibetans greet new year with giant Buddha and dancing'. Print Edition | Subscribe