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Tibetan Customs; Dialectic and Language

Tibetan Customs

Tibetan is a language abundant in dialects. Some of these dialects are similar, but some are so different that a Tibetan speaker may be confused when speaking with a Tibetan from another region. To reduce the difficulty in communication, some scholars are calling for the standardization of Tibetan.

They are making efforts toward this purpose and have gained a series of achievements. Before you know the exactly meaning of a word in Tibet Language, do not use it to avoid misunderstanding and embarrassing. Besides Tibetan, they also know Mandarin, English, or Nepali. There is not too much difficulty for tourists to understand them or to be understood.

Presenting Hada

Hada is a unique thing that found in Tibetan custom. Hadas in Tibet are almost pure white. When you meet with the Tibetan at the first time, they will present Hada with tow hands. At this time, you should receive the Hada with tow hands. This white Hada express their best wishes on many occasions, such as wedding ceremonies, festivals, visiting the elders and the betters, and entertaining guests. The white hada, a long narrow scarf made of silk, embodies purity and good fortune.

Proposing a Toast and Tea

Toast and Tea is a very traditional custom that your may experience in Tibet. When you visit a Tibetan family, the host will propose a toast, usually barley wine. You should sip three times and then drink up. To entertain guests with tea is a daily etiquette. The guest has not to drink until the host presents the tea to you.


When you greet with Tibetans, don’t forget to add "la" after saying hello to the Tibetan people to show respect. If you make any sounds in your meal time, the Tibetan will think it is impolite.

Sky Burials

Sky burial is a common form in Tibet. There are many prohibitions. Strangers are not allowed to attend the ceremony. Visitors should respect this custom and keep away from such occasions.

Tibetan Buddhism

Also known as the Lamaism, the Tibetan Buddhism was introduced to Tibet from the mainland and India in the seventh century. The Tibetan Buddhism consists of four major sects, the Ge-lug-pa(Yellow) Sect, the Nying-ma-pa(Red)Sec, the Saturday-kya-pa(Variegated) Sect, and the Ka-gyu-pa(White) Sect.

Visiting Temple

Temples are the most distinguish sightseeing in Tibet. In most temples, you should walk clockwise. However, in a local temple called Ben Jiao, you should walk counterclockwise. In case you had better ask your local guide every time before your visiting if you cannot distinguish the difference.

Do not eat garlic if you are planning to visit a temple. Take off your hat/cap before your enter of Buddhism Palace. Without permission, you are not allowed to shoot any photos or record videos.


The immediate motivations of pilgrimage are many, but for the ordinary Tibetan it amounts to a means of accumulating merit or good luck. The lay practitioner might go on pilgrimage in the hope of winning a better rebirth, cure an illness, and end a spate of bad luck or simply because of a vow to take a pilgrimage if a bodhisattva granted a wish.

In Tibet there are countless sacred destinations, ranging from lakes and mountains to monasteries and caves that once served as meditation retreats for important yogin. Specific pilgrimages are often proscribed for specific ills; certain mountains for example expiate certain sins. A circumambulation of Mt. Kailash offers the possibility of liberation within three lifetimes, while a circuit of Lake Manasarovar can result in spontaneous Buddhahood.


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