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Festivals in Tibet

Loshar FestivalPilgrims often flock to Lhasa at these times and the city takes on a colorful party atmosphere. The following Tibetan festivals are calculated according to the lunar calendar. Check before for the precise dates.

Tibetan new year
It is the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient times when the peach tree was in blossom, it was considered as the starting of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 A.D., The first day of the first month became fixed as the new year. On the new year's the families unite " auspicious dinner" is offered and the auspicious words " tashi delek" are greeted. It is the most colorful festival of Lhasa.

Monlam (great prayer festival of Lhasa)
Known also as the great prayer festival, this is held midway through the first lunar month. An image of maitreya from the jokhang is borne around the barkhor, attracting enthusiastic crowds of locals and pilgrims.

Saga dawa festival (May or June)
It is the holiest in Tibet, there memorable occasions coincide on this day, buddha's birth and buddha's enlightenment. Almost every person within Lhasa join in circumambulations round the city and spend their late afternoon on picnic at "dzongyab lukahng" park at the foot of potala.

Gyantse horse race & archery (May or June)
Horse race and archery are generally popular in Tibet, and gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Presently ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.

Changtang chachen horse race festival - (10 august)
As the most important festival in north Tibet during the golden season on the grassland, thousand of herdsmen throng to nakchu riding fine horses, and carrying the local products. They form as city of tens south of nakchu town. There will be thrilling horse race, archery and demonstrations of horsemanship. Songs and dance troupes from all part of Tibet will add to the fun.

Shoton festival (august)
It is the opera festival and the greatest festivals in Tibet. In ancient times pious folks went into mountain hermitages of which yoghurt was served for meal followed by entertainment of folk songs and dances. Since 7th century, opera performances were held for days in norbu lingka. Presently, opera contests and distribution of prizes are held for seven days.

Ganden festival
On the 15th day of the 6th Tibetan month, 25 precious articles belonging to ganden monastery, which are normally locked in their treasure house, are displayed in the main shrine hall. A grand offering ceremony accompanies the display. These articles consist of the images of the sixteen arhats, akshobhya, the secret assembly, the four great kings, the upasaka and hashang image.

Harvest festival (September)
The farmers in Lhasa, gyantse and shangnan to celebrating their bumeer harvest in this time. During that time, people enjoy with horse racing games, costume fashion show, songs and dance archery and picnic etc.

Bathing week
It is believed when the sacred planet Venus appears in the sky, the water in the river becomes purest and cure diseases. During its appearance for one week in the sky, all the people in Tibet go into the river for bathing.

Tibetan Festival Calendar (Year: 2010)

TIBETAN NEW YEAR (LOSAR) 1-3 of the 1st Lunar month Feb 14
MONLAM PRAYER FESTIVAL 4-11 of the 1st lunar month Feb 18-24
BUTTER LAMP/ CHOE-NGA CHOEPA 15th of the 1st Lunar month Feb 28
SAGA DAWA 15th of the 4th Lunar monthMay 27
GYANTSE HORSE RACE 14-18th of 4th Lunar month May 27-30
THANKA UNVEILING AT TASHILHUNPO 15th of the 5th Lunar month June 26
ZAMLING CHISANG /SAMYA DOLDE 15th of the 5th Lunar month June 26
CHOEKOR DUECHEN 4th of the 6th Lunar month July 15
SHOTON FESTIVAL 30th of the 6th Lunar monthAug 10-15
LHABAB DHECHEN 22nd of the 9th Lunar month Oct 29
PALDEN LHAMO FESTIVAL 15th of the 10th Lunar month Nov 21
GADEN NGA-CHOE 25th of the 10th Lunar month Dec 1
GADEN THANKA UNVEILING 15th of 6th Lunar month July 25
Aug 1-3
July 25-28
TIJI FESTIVAL MUSTANG (PALACE) 25-29th the 3rd Lunar month May 8-12
TIJI FESTIVAL MUSTANG (MONASTERY) 5-9th of the 5th Lunar month June 17-20
MANI RIMDU (TENBOCHE)1-19th of the 9th Lunar MonthOct 8-26 (Oct 22-24)
MANI RIMDU (CHIWANG)1-19th of the 10th Lunar MonthNov 7-25 (Nov 21-23)


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