Tsering Dondrup's Wangguo Festival

It's the custom, on the first day of Wangguo Festival, for households to send a representative to "circle the fields". This year, 18-year-old Tsering Dondrup in Jiuhe Village has been chosen by his family. He gets up early in the morning and, with his mother's help, dresses in his traditional holiday costume. Then, after participating in a brief departure ceremony, he joins the other representatives, dancing around the village fields.

In Qonggyai County, Shannan in Xizang, the annual Wangguo Festival is being observed from July 30 to August 3 this year. Held to celebrate a good harvest, Wangguo Festival generally takes place when the grains ripen, and is a grander event than Tibetan New Year in Xizang's agricultural areas. The custom of circling the fields – "wang" refers to crops and "guo" means to circle around – is believed to have originated in the Yarlung Zangbo River valley area. Now widely celebrated across rural and forested areas of Xizang, Wangguo Festival has been listed as part of China's national intangible cultural heritage.

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