1

Spring Festival

The oldest and most important festival in China is the Spring Festival, more commonly known in the West as Chinese New Year. Shangri La activities and preparations for the New Year Festival start during the remaining days of the last moon. Houses are thoroughly cleaned, debts repaid, hair cut and new clothes bought. Doors are decorated with vertical scrolls of characters on red paper, proclaiming praise and good to ward away bad fortune and evil spirits. Incense is burnt in many homes and temples as a mark of respect to ancestors. New Year's Day is often spent visiting neighbours, family and friends.

2

Horse Race Festival

Horses have always played a significant role in Tibetan history and this festival symbolises the horse's importance in an ancient culture.