Tibetan Bathing Festival ( Karma Rishi) སྐར་མ་རི་ཥི་།
Tibetan Bathing festival is one of the unique festivals you will come up with while you are traveling in Tibet. The festival is of a week long, and sometimes it is called Tibetan Bathing week. Its celebrate on the 1st Week of the seventh month of Tibetan Lunar Calander. We called this festival Karma Rishi in the Tibetan Language, Meaning the golden star.
The festival of Tibetan Bathing festival coincides with the appearance of venus in the sky. The celebration will last for a week. We believe taking a bath during those days will wash away all the diseases and misfortune.
According to the Tibetan astronomical documents, water during the end of summer and beginning to autumn has eight qualities which makes it suitable for taking a bath: crisp, sweet, clean, soft, clarity, and it’s not harmful to throat and belly.
The Origin of The Tibetan Bathing festival
The legend had it About 700 or 800 Year ago. There was a terrible plague in Tibet. This plague kills unless the number of Humans and Animals. Local Tibetan people don’t have to know how would help cure the disease. The most well-known doctor of Tibetan Medicine, Youthok Yonten Gompo has died for sometimes. The only option was to pray to him for the guidance and help.
One the night of the first day of seventh Lunar calendar, everybody had the same dream. In the dream, they saw a bright star twinkling from the sky above the southeast of the Lhasa city and a sick and fainted girl taking bathing in the Lhasa River when she re-emerged from the river. She was clean, healthy and beautiful.
Everyone believes the Holy medicinal men turned himself into that star, after hearing the prayers for help by the Tibetan People. Under the light of the star, Water became medicinal, and all the food became medicine.
So after this dream, everyone went for the bath and after the 7th day. The plague disappeared, and everyone was recover from the sickness, and the new star also vanished from the sky. Since then taking back for the seven days become the norm and later become festival in Tibet.
The celebration of the Tibetan Bathing Festival
During those seven days of celebration, people in Tibet would take much opportunity to go out to the river and take a bath. We say more you a shower, better it is for you. The common practice is that it is a good time for a family to go for a picnic near the river.
We would invite all our friends and relatives to join the picnic to a specific spot near the river. Each one will bring an option of the meals to eat in the group. The chief organizer would also bring cooking items and ingredients to make butter tea, and bake potato.
At the spot, we would first place the tent in such a way that female member of the group would have some privacy while changing. In the morning while some member of the group prepares for the eatables, others would wash their clothes, blankets, and rugs.
In the afternoon the group will go for a bath if the weather allows they would stay near the water until the late in the night. But During this week-long festival. Climate is not very friendly for the outdoor.
The tourist guide for the Tibetan Bathing Festival
You can ask your Tibet tour guide and driver to take you near a river where people are for the bath. You can join them and share meals and time with any group. We love having people joining us for the celebration. Usually, our company would go once every year for a picnic at the festival. During those time, If we happen to have any clients in Lhasa. We would invite them to join us.