The Potala Palace in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (Photo: VCG)
Large-scale traditional religious activities during the Tibetan New Year will be suspended this year in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, local authorities announced Monday.
According to the announcement of the Buddhist association of Lhasa, the act was proposed by monasteries across the city and aimed to protect people's health and avoid the risk of cross-infection caused by gatherings.
Grand celebrations, ceremonies and rituals, which were set to take place in the landmark monasteries and temples, including the Sera, Tsurphu and Drepung Monasteries, the Jokhang and Ramoche Temples, and draw numerous participants, were canceled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Other Losar traditions and religious activities such as praying for the Tibetan New Year will be held inside monasteries in Lhasa without the participation of the public. Also, the time will be shortened and the scale downsized.
"We all know the novel coronavirus is highly infectious, and we understand the anti-virus measures," said Tsering, a resident in Lhasa.
The Tibetan New Year, also referred to as Losar, is the most important and famous traditional festival for the Tibetan ethnic minority, falling on February 24 this year.
Tibetan people start celebrating at least three days before the New Year. The celebrations last for about two weeks with the main celebrations on the first three days of the Losar.
As of Sunday, Tibet had reported one confirmed case of novel coronavirus pneumonia.