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Home > Unique Tibet > Arts Culture >Yinniaojie in Tibet (birds worship)
Yinniaojie in Tibet (birds worship)
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Among the Tibetan festivals, there’s one festival for birds worship, which is called’ yingniao jie’, the religious festival originated from Bonpo the Tibetan primitive religion.

As spring birds, happy birds, the cuckoo birds are always considered as the mascot for Tibetan people since ancient time. It is said that cuckoo is the king of all the birds; he will come in the Tibetan calendar every year in mid-March to inspect and punish birds that do the bad things. Yingniaojie will be help in different time in varied areas, e.g. it will be held in mid-March in Shangnan naidong qiasalakang (Bird’s temple); and it will be held on April 15 Tibetan calendar at Reting Monastery. The Festival held in Reting Monastery also called Cuckoo worship and it will last to see the cuckoo.

The typical signal is qiasalakang (birds’ temple). The Temple could be originated at Qinzewangbu’ s book "Wei zai daochang sheji zhi" on page 13 writes: "Tour the Holy Land along the southern Brahmaputra Tsedang, commonly called these places as yueqieluoju, westbound, then there is a bird temple, where King Baikezan molded the huge Lu statue of Buddha." King baikezan is the son of wei song of Tibetan descent Weisong zanpo, who lived in the mid century, king of eastern Tibet. According to the survey, the temple is well preserved till 1996. Before1959, the temple is still under the control of the naiyuezong of Shannan Prefecture. Yingniaojie will be held in Tibetan calendar middle March (early May in the Gregorian calendar). The local government of Tibet will send two monks officials from Lhasa to welcome the king of birds cuckoo's coming. The ceremony will be held in Linka. Tibet highland barley, wheat, peas and other grains will be put on the table as tributes. This ceremony will only be finished until seeing the cuckoo in the woods and hearing the cuckoo's call. It is a solemn ceremony. March 15th Tibetan calendar, Linka will be covered with red carpet, displayed the Tibetan tables, sacrificed the yogurt, fried fruit, ginseng fruit covered pouring ghee rice,ChaoSumaqie (filled with fresh zaba, grain and barley planted auspicious color lights, "ChaoSu" is the same as worship, greeting), and also will lighten two brass-made ghee lamps. It is said as "Kuyouqumei"(which means offering to cuckoo's lights ). It is said that when the cuckoo fly to Shannan Tsedang area, he will first break at the "xiezha"( stones like crystal) in front of the Qiakuolinka,finishing feathers, dressing up, recovering, at the same time send aother bird to observe. This cuckoo bird is called "Kuda" (the messenger sent by cuckoo king ), its mission is to observe whether the ceremony is ready, and release the message that the cuckoo come to Linka.

When the ceremony is ready, the cuckoo will fly solemnly at the cypress in front of the table, after three sweet chirping sound fly on the table and taste the offerings. When the cuckoo flew to Linka, everywhere will be lit the auspicious cypress. The official and ordinary people worship on bended knees to them, inviting them to taste the highland barley wine, buttered tea and a variety of offerings, to bless plenty of snow and rain with good harvest. Worship cuckoo is an ancient legacy left, is a nature worship of Tibetan people, which is oriented the annual seasonal movement of migratory birds in the ancient times. It is the laws of nature when cuckoo come and go. This is an essential for calculating days in ancient Tibetan calendar. It has made a great contribution to the development of agricultural and livestock production in Tibet.

Tibetan people starting from ancient times, they feel that birds have close contact with the climate and their harvest.  bird with its own harvests and climate have some close contact.  Especially when cuckoo come, farming has been finished, People will become anxious about the crops in the fields this year. When hearing the mysterious cuckoo, crisp, sweet chirping sound, they find a consolation, and then they put the bird as their worship. In their devoted belief they find birds coming with a regulation. In the Millennium, on the Year after year, day after day's birds' dating calculating, in order to thank birds' contribution to the agricultural and livestock production. Then comes the Yingniao jie. Accordingly infer more than 2000 years ago,  the Tibetan people living in snow-covered plateau with their own wisdom, according to the laws of the bird's activities and predict the changeable plateau weather.

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