More than five million Tibetans across the country celebrated the Tibetan New Year and the Spring Festival on Thursday.
The New Year under the Tibetan calendar coincides with the Spring Festival this year. According to the Tibetan calendar, the year 2008 is the year of "Tushu" or "earth rat".
"Zhaxidele!" Nyima Puencog, a young Tibetan hotel guard in Lhasa said to his friend Song Shanyou, a Han, from central China's Hunan province, on Thursday morning in Song's rent room, holding a "wugudou", a wooden cup filled with roasted barley flour, to wish him good luck in the new year.
"Zhaxidele" means "good luck to you."
"We ate Tibetan flour bread we and also ate the dumplings on the new year's eve this year," said Ding Ciren, son of a Han father and a Tibetan mother, in Tibet.
At dawn on New Year's Day, Tibetans visit monasteries, shrines to make offerings. Colorful prayer flags are hung out over each home and the smell of incense wafts through the villages. Then families venture out to drink the new year's Chang, an unhopped beer, to picnic in the parks and meadow, or to watch an archery tourney.