Tibetan Ceremony: Sunning of the Buddha

Festivals are only interesting for tourists when there are some unique ceremonies and are available for viewing.

“Sunning of the Buddha” is certainly one of the most popular Tibetan festivals, unveiling of a gigantic Thangka measuring up to over 100 feet in length for public viewing. Losar or Tibetan New Year or Manlam Festival is one of the events where you may see a “basking of the Buddha” ceremony. The event is held during Tibetan New Year which is near Chinese New Year in February. Tibetan monasteries will hold days long celebration by running different programs, including chanting, praying, offering the yak milk or holy water, and unfold a huge Buddha Thangka. Each of the major Tibetan event attracts pilgrims and tourists travelling from all over the world to attend.

“Sunning of the Buddha” is very popular throughout Tibetan and other Himalaya regions, including the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, Qinghai, Tibet and Bhutan. Many events are held during the Tibetan New Year in February. If you want to see it in Tibet, the best time of the year is August. InBhutan, you may see the Thongdrol (Liberation by sight) which is something similar during some major Tibetan festivals throughout the year. However, instead of hanging on the hill, Thongdrols are hung on the wall inside the Dzongs (fortresses).

This article features some photos taken during Losar Festival in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Losar Festival in Gansu China
During the Losar Festival, there are various events including chanting, praying and mask dancing in Tibetan monasteries, offering great photo opportunities.
Losar Festival in Gansu China
Most of the ceremonies I saw in Gansu monasteries involve hundreds of monks chanting and praying, attracting a lot of pilgrims and tourists.
Losar Festival in Gansu China
This is one of the monasteries in the south of Gansu. The monks come out after finishing a chanting session.
Losar Festival in Gansu China
A speech or prayer given by the senior lama is an important session of the Losar celebration.
Losar Festival in Gansu China
The highlight of Losar Festival is the “Sunning of the Buddha”: unfolding a huge Thangka during the day. This is the best Thangka Festival I have seen in Gansu Province at an altitude of 3,325 meters. I was blessed with a perfect day: a beautiful blue sky, snow mountain backdrop and the magnificent Thangka. Amazing!

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