Every year, Ritoma holds the ceremony of throwing the ‘Torkya’ or Ritual Cake. Triangular in shape and over four feet high, torkyas are red and surrounded by butter molded flames. Destined to serve as bombs against harmful forces, the torkya throwing ceremony is performed at the end of the year, directed against all obstacles that would taint the coming year.
The monks, in their ceremonial garb, file out of the monastery to the site of the burning. Present are the men representing the local clans, holding the clan arrows and dressed in white lambskin chubas. The master of the ceremony announces that all harmful forces are to be sent back to where they came from. As in the case of other wrathful rituals, he begins by meditating on compassion aiming to stop the negative spirits from accumulating bad karma. He aims not at destroying the spirit itself, but the ignorance within it.
Straw is placed around the torkya, and the ceremony culminates with the lighting of the fire and the throwing of fire crackers, for effect. No doubt a new addition. This ceremony takes place in most major monasteries in Tibet. In Lhasa, it happens at the end of the Monlam or Great Prayer Festival, after the new year.