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14:35 Feb 10 2011

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English>>Tibet Online
'Sutra streamer trees' usher in Tibetan New Year celebrations
14:32, February 10, 2011  



A store of "sutra streamer trees" in Duilong Deqing County [photo/Tibet.cn]

Trees for fixing sutra streamers fill up a truck. [photo/Tibet.cn]

The Tibetan New Year follows the Chinese lunar New Year some 20 days later, prolonging the festive atmosphere in Tibet. Another round of festival purchases has started, including the colorful "sutra streamer tree".

The "sutra streamer tree", known as sutra streamers sewn onto tree branches is a customary token for bumper harvest and good wishes in the coming new year. It will be renewed in every Tibetan New Year.

These sutra streamers should be sewn firmly by hand as they will be exposed to the wind and sun on top of the Tibetan houses all year round, Pasang, a shop ownertold the reporter.

According to the Tibetan custom, sutra streamers are placed in the order of blue, white, red, green, yellow, so they are usually called "five-colored" sutra streamers," explained Phurbu Tsering, a Tibetan friend of the reporter. "This sequence should not be changed as each color symbolizes each element of heaven and earth, namely, the blue sky, the white cloud, the red flame, the green water and the yellow soil. And all of them are expressions of respect to nature by ethnic Tibetans.

Pasang also told the reporter, their families started to make and sell sutra streamers in late January and early February. "They have been sold well these days. We can sell over 300 per day," he said cheerfully.

The traditional Tibetan housing style is flat on the roof with walls sticking out at four corners especially built for sutra streamers. Prior to every Tibetan New Year, every family will select a good day to hold a ceremony for a new "five-colored sutra streamer".

Source: eng.tibet.cn

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