Gu-Stor literally means ‘sacrifice on the 29th day’. It is traditional to the monasteries of the reformist Geluk-pa order of Tibetan Buddhism. It is mainly celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region. This is a two-day long festival.
It is held mainly in the Spituk, Thiksay and Karsha monasteries at different times every year, from July to November. The celebration ends with the dismemberment and dispersal of Storma (sacrificial coke) by the leader of the Black Hat dancers. The ceremony is called ‘Afghan’ or ‘Killing’. This symbolises the destruction of all forms of evil.
It also re-enacts the assassination of the Tibetan apostle King Lang-dar-ma by a Buddhist monk in the mid 9th century. In some monasteries an effigy symbolising the stronger faces of an evil is burnt at the end of the festival. The masks worn by the dancers represent the guarding divinities of the Buddhist pantheon and the patron divinities of the Geluk-pa order.