The Litang Horse Festival is an annual horse festival held in the village of Litang in the Sichuan province of China. The festival is usually attended by Khampas tribesmen though over the year it attracts lot of tourists from different part of the world. Khampas are nomadic tribes residing in southern china and Tibet and visits the festival to trade, celebrate and participate in horse riding events. The Litang Horse Festival is held in the first week of August and lasts for 7 days, usually running from 1st August to 7th August.
The Litang Horse Festival originated around 300 years ago as a religious festival of the Litang monastery where the lamas used to travel around the holy mountain during the morning held horse racing events during the afternoons. The festival evolved over the years and now it has lost much of its religious flavor and is more of a socio-economic festival. The festival was banned in 1950s for political reasons but resumed in 1963 and since then has grown tremendously.
The modern Litang horse festival lasts for 7 days and hosts splendid horse racings, Tibetan musical Operas, singing and dancing performances, clothes markets, horse markets, art & craft markets and food & drink stalls. The locals come to the festivals and put up tents for the seven days of celebrations. The horse racing and horsemanship are held upon Tibetan Ponies and a lot of honour and social status is placed on who owns the best and fastest horse. The festival also helps to establish social hierarchy among the local nomads. Over thousands of horses and hundred thousands of people participate in Litang Horse Festival with numbers increasing every year. The Litang Horse Festival has grown into a major tourist attraction for individuals interested in horses and horsemanship.