Nov. 16 marks the first day of the traditional Gongpo New Year, the earliest New Year in Tibet and celebrated only in the traditional Gongpo area in Nyingchi, which covers the current Bayi District, Mainling County and Kongpo Gyamda County.
It is said that centuries ago, Kongpo people celebrated the New Year on the first day of the first month of a year as people in other areas of Tibet did. In the 13th century during the reign of Akyi Gyalpo, the tribe was threatened by a powerful army near the northern border. The king called on all men to fight and offered New Year’s treats two months earlier to boost morale. Finally, the Kongpo people won the battle. Since then, local people inscribed October 1 in the Tibetan calendar as the Kongpo New Year.
During the New Year, local people celebrate with customs such as treating dogs with big meal, eating Jieda, a kind of roasting dough made form highland barley flour, butter, milk and sugar, carrying water on the back home and worshipping harvesting goddess.