Tibetan New Year
The Tibetan New year, also known as Losar, is the most important festival in the Tibetan calendar. It is celebrated over a period of two weeks during the months of December and January. Losar Festival is also celebrated by Tibetan people in Jiuzhaigou, and is marked by ancient ceremonies that represent the struggle between good and evil, by chanting, and by passing fire torches through the crowds.
Qiang’s New Year
As the most important traditional festival of Qiang people, Qiang’s New Year lasts three to five days in November. During these days, people don’t work, instead they stay at home to make sacrificial offerings shaped like calves, lambs and chickens with flour. They use these offerings honor their ancestors and the god of Heaven. Led by a veteran priest, Qiang people gather in front of a white stone pagoda (which symbolizes the god) and hold a ritual to pray for good fortune in the new year. They then sing folk songs in two parts and perform various dances while drinking Za wine.
The oldest and most important festival in China is the Spring Festival, more commonly known in the West as Chinese New Year. Preparations for the New Year festival start during the last few 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 signifying praise and good fortune. This practice is believed to keep bad fortune far from family and home. Incense is burned in many homes as well as in the temples as a sign of respect for the ancestors. New Year's Day is often spent visiting neighbors, family, and friends.
Held annually on May 15th of the lunar calendar, Mazi Fair is an important religious holiday for Tibetans living in Jiuzhaigou. The largest event is the Mazhi Culture Festival held in Zharu Temple, which is located in Shuzheng Valley in Jiuzhaigou National Park. The festival lasts for nine days, with various religious and cultural activities being held in the temple and on the nearby sacred mountains. Residents will gather wearing beautiful holiday costumes, and bring Tibetan Longda, Thangka, joss sticks, and candles to chant and pray with the monks.
Warezu Festival, which is also known as “Singing Goddess Festival,” is celebrated to worship Sister Shalang, the Goddess of Singing and Dancing of Qiang people. On May 5th of the lunar calendar every year, women of all ages in Qiang villages rise early, dress up in their most gorgeous attire with their finest silver jewelry and gather together to sing and dance till dusk.