The    Spituk    Gustor    or    The    Victory    of    the    Black    Hat    Dancers    over    Evil

Gustor literally means 'Sacrifice of the 29th day'. It is traditional to the monasteries of the reformist Geluk-pa order of Tibetan Buddhism. This two-day long festival is held mainly in the Spituk, Thikse and Karsha (Zanskar) monasteries, at different times every year. The celebration ends with the dismemberment and dispersal of the 'Storma' (sacrificial cake) by the leader of the Black Hat dancers in a ceremony called 'Argham' of 'Killing'. This symbolizes the destruction of all forms of evil and is also a re-enactment of the assassination of the Tibetan apostate King Lang-dar-ma, by a Buddhist monk in the mid 9th century. In some monasteries, an effigy symbolising the strong forces of evil is burnt at the end of the festival. The masks worn by the dancers represent the guardian divinities (Dharmapalas) of the Buddhist pantheon, and the patron divinities of the Geluk-pa order.