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Tibetans Celebrate Annual Religious Festival
Hundreds of thousands of Tibetan Buddhists joined in a pilgrimage Saturday around the Johkang Monastery and the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, to celebrate the climax of "Buddha Month."

Buddha Month is the longest religious festival in Tibet, when believers burn joss sticks and walk around local temples in memory of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism.

June 14 is the 15th day of the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar, a day when Sakyamuni was born, achieved nirvana and passed away. It is celebrated annually in a grand religious festival.

Buddhists set off before dawn and walk around the Potala Palace, Johkang Monastery and Ramoqe Temple holding a prayer wheel.

There are three routes: the first goes around the image of Sakyamuni in the Johkang Monastery; the second circumnavigates the Johkang Monastery; and the third, the longest, is to walk around both the Potala Palace and the Johkang Monastery.

Buddhists believe the more circles they walk, the more virtue they have. Many Buddhists do as many rounds as they can.

Ceje, an elderly Tibetan woman, said she would walk on the longest route three times.

(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2003)

Tibetans Enjoy More Holidays Than Other Ethnic Groups
China Tibet Information Center
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