New Year cheer soars for Tibetans lifted from poverty


Tibetan villagers wait to receive New Year Festival couplets made by a Tibetan calligrapher at Dongkar, a township in the Samdrubtse district of Shigatse, on Friday. [Photo by PALDEN NYIMA/CHINA DAILY]

In the days leading up to the twoweek-long Sonam Losar New Year Festival, which starts on Friday, residents of Shigatse, in the Tibet autonomous region, are busy shopping at the New Year goods market, enjoying the better life made possible by government programs.

Shoppers head to the New Year markets for featured holiday goods such as metal-plated sheep skulls, cheese, butter, dried barley sheaths and Tibetan robes.

Sonam Losar New Year is a local Tibetan New Year celebration observed mainly by farmers in Shigatse. It comes one month ahead of Tibetan Losar New Year, the autonomous region's general New Year celebration. This year, Sonam Losar New Year falls on the same day as Spring Festival.

The two Tibetan New Year celebrations are among the most important festivals of the year. People carefully shop for the feasts they host. And meat is at the top of the New Year shopping list for most Tibetan farmers, as it is regarded as the best food for entertaining guests.