How the community remains rooted in the land

The Norlha community is directly issued from the pastoral background they were born into and are either former nomads, or belong to families who continue their herding activities. Ritoma people live immersed in the cultural world of their village, taking part in events directly connected with the land, the element that provides for them for generations. The main is the laptse, a ceremony performed on hilltops honouring the local gods and seeking their support and protection against the vagaries of nature. Another is the Chokhor, which happens in the fall when men from each village clan circle the area on horses carrying sacred books on their backs to bless the winter pasture and good conditions through these difficult months. Many other smaller events and rituals take place throughout the year, seeking to appease and cajole the forces that direct their lives.

The symbolism of the Naga

Nagas, or snake gods, (lu in Tibetan) are believed to dwell in many parts of human inhabited earth. Some are water dwellers, living in streams or the ocean; others are earth dwellers. Invisible to humans, they protect their rivers and lakes and strongly resent their encroachment or defilement by humans. Their displeasure can be shown by causing them harm in the form of skin or other diseases. Tibetan Buddhists have many rituals to appease them, which are performed before using any land they are known to dwell on.