Lhasa celebrates festival of women's protector

The annual Fairy's Day is marked on the 15th day of the 10th month of Tibetan calendar. It is a day to worship Pal Lhamo, one of the protective deities of the Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan women consider Pal Lhamo as their protector, and the religious festival has become a particular favorite of women in Lhasa, as many young girls can ask for money from any men on the occasion.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the goddess manifests in different incarnations, and Pal Lhamo appears with a wrathful black frog's face, whose appearance can frighten demons everywhere.

According to Tibetan history, the daughter of Palden Lhamo, the Pal Lhamo deity fell in love with Trizongzan, who is also a protective deity of Jokhang Temple.

When this was discovered by Palden Lhamo, she punished Trizongzan by making him stay on the south bank of Lhasa River, and the lovers promised to meet once a year across the river on that special day.

On the 15th day of the 10th month in Tibetan calendar, the statue of the goddess is carried out of Jokhang Temple and paraded through Lhasa, where it is finally brought to the southern bank of the Lhasa River. There is a temple on the other side of the river that commemorates the ancient general Trizongzan, the goddess' lover. The statue of Pal Lhamo is brought to the river so that she and her lover can gaze at each other and be reunited.

Because of this legend, every year on this day, the women of Lhasa put on their best clothes and jewelry, rise early to go to the Jokhang Temple, and worship the frog-faced goddess. They will also drink highland barley wine and sing and dance to celebrate the festival.