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Nakchu Horse Racing Festival

Date: 1st, August of Tibetan Calendar
Location: Nakchu

In ancient times, horse racing and competition of military skills are the common method to select leaders, and almost in all traditional Tibetan festivals, horse racing is the essential program. Horses are indispensable to people live in the highland that Tibetans had cultivated a close relationship with horses in their daily life, and treat horse as spiritualization.

In Tibetan regions, there are conventional horse racing festivals in many places, of which the one occurs in Nakchu is the grandest and most famous. Nakchu Horse Racing Festival, which falls in 1st, August and lasts 5 to 15 days, is a grand gathering in Northern Tibet even more boisterous than Tibetan New Year.

During the festival, people dress themselves and their horses, take barley wine, yoghurt, and other Tibetan food flock to Nakchu to create a colorful tent city. Thousands of herdsmen will take part in the exciting horse racing, archery and horsemanship. In recent years as the festival gets more attention and attracts more people, contests like weightlifting, tug-of-war, other folk activities and commodity fairs are also held. The main recreational activities of Nakchu Horse Racing Festival are Tibetan circle dance, Tibetan cards, bonfire party in the evening and opera of Gesar (an ancient legend popular in Tibet).