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'Sunning of the Buddha' Ceremony Held in Northwest China

LANZHOU -- With the unrolling of a huge thangka painting bearing the image of the Buddha, a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony started Wednesday morning at Labrang Monastery in Northwest China's Gansu province.

The annual "sunning of the Buddha" is one of the most important ceremonies at Labrang in Xiahe county, which is regarded as a top Tibetan Buddhism educational institution in China.

At around 9:40 am, nearly 100 lamas carried the thangka scroll out of the scripture hall to a nearby hill, followed by devout Buddhists. Many people touched the thangka with their foreheads to pray for good luck.

The thangka was unrolled at around 10:20 am on the hillside. Some Buddhists prostrated on the ground, while others presented hadas, traditional white ceremonial scarves, to the scroll.

The portrait was rolled up after it was sunned for around an hour.

The ceremony is held each year on the 13th day of the first lunar month. It also attracted crowds of tourists.

Built in 1709, Labrang Monastery is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.