Len Yi Part 1
INTRODUCTION: Sonan Jetsun (Bsod nams rgyal mtshan) filmed this material 12-22 January 2008 in Len yi (Lianyi) Village, Sgong po (Gongbo) Township, Sde rong (Derong) County, Dkar mdzes (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Si khron (Sichuan) Province, PR China. The film features the Tibetan New Year, Bkra shis Temple, and ordinary people's lives in Len yi Village. Sonan Jetsun also edited the material and plans to give it to Len yi villagers on DVD/ VCD.
LOCATION: Lianyi Village is 200 kilometers southwest of Sde rong County Town, 550 kilometers from Dar rtse mdo (Kangding) City (the capital of Dkar mdzes Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture). The village has eighty households (560 Tibetans). Each family has an average of seven members, representing three generations. Most villagers were born after 1953. Villagers are agro-pastoralists, followers of the Dge lugs pa (Yellow Sect) of Tibetan Buddhism, and speak a distinctive Tibetan dialect.
LAB RTSE: The featured lab rtse is on 'bru lung Mountain, a twenty minute horse ride from Len yi Village. It was built as a place to make offerings to the mountain deity, A myes 'bru lung. Only men visit this mountain deity. It is believed that the deity will be angry if women climb 'bru lung Mountain. On the second day of the Tibetan New Year, each family sends one man on horseback to visit the mountain deity. They put dar lcog (prayer flags), bamboo, branches of trees, and other things into the lab rtse. Next, they chant prayers and burn bsang in front of the lab rtse, and circumambulate the lab rtse three times. Then, they have a picnic for a few hours beneath the lab rtse.
HORSE RACE: On the fifth day of the Tibetan New Year, a horse race is held on the mountainside. Nearly all the villagers attend the horse race, except for very old people. People ride horses and mules from the bottom of the valley to the valley's highest point. When the race is finished, prizes are given to first, second, and third place winners. After the race, many kha btags (white silk scarf) are tied around the winning animal's neck.
TRADITIONAL CIRCLE DANCE: The circle dance is the most common performance in the village and is performed at such times as wedding parties, a celebration marking the building of a new house, and gatherings during the New Year. People sing as they dance. A stringed instrument (resembling the two-stringed Chinese upright fiddle) known as the bewong in the local dialect is played by men