There have many Festivals in Tibet, from the begining to end of the year, there are more than twenty to thirty big or small Tibetan traditional festivals. Festival days are great occasions of family reunions, the social activities of young people and entertainment. It is also a good opportunity for people to show their art and performing talents. Tibetan traditonal festivals have a long history and are cloesly related to Tibetan regligion. Now with the elapse of time, Tibetan festivals are gradually becoming more folk custom-oriented, entertaining and commercialize.
Tibetan New Year (Losar)
February21, 2023, 1st – 3rd of the first lunar month (Tibetan Calendar).
Tibetan New Year is one of the longest festival in Tibet. Most of the Tibetan celebrate 15 days and some people celebrate 1 month. It’s very special time to meet family and friends meet each other.Tibetan new year which usually is February or March in the Gre-gorian calendar.
Saga Dawa Festival
May 25th (from may 25th to June 8th, 2023).
An influential religious festival in Tibet. The 15th day of the fourth month on Tibetan Calendar is believed to be the time when Sakyamuni was born, stepped into Buddhahood, and attained nirvana. The festivities, starting from 1st day on fourth month, will last for 1 month. The biggest ritual is to worship Buddha and circumambulate in the inner, middle and outer parts of Lhasa. Sutra chanting, prayer turning, Cham dancing and other religious activities dominate the festival. Many people refrain from killing animals and give out alms to everyone who asks for it.
Shoton Festival (Yoghurt Festival)
August 16th to 22th August, 2023.
Shoton festival this major festival call yoghurt festival in the first week of the seventh lunar month starts with the dramatic unveiling of a giant thanks at Drepung Monastery before moving to Sera.At that early morning people gathered at the hill foot of Drepung Monastery waiting for the first program of shotun festival unfolding of the Buddha picture(A giant Thangka) Buddha is spreaded on the hill slope for the homage paying of the people.From the first day of the seventh month on,Tibetan drama troupes perform Tibetan operas and dramas in Potala palace and Norbulingka then they go to other monasteries and temples.
December 18th, 2023.
Anniversary of the Nirvana of the great Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetans make butter lamp offerings at window of the houses and in monasteries on the 25th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar. Most beautiful thing is you can see the butter lamp on the roof of the Jokhang temple and thousand of Tibetan come to bless from the Jokhang temple during the evening time.
July 13th 2023.
Universal Prayer Day. In central Tibet, on the 15th day of the fifth month in the Tibetan calendar, Tibetans go to the tops of local mountains to burn incense and hang prayer flags.
Horse Racing Fair and Archery Festival
July 20th, 2023for a week, Gyangste horse racing festival.
August 10th, 2023 for a week, Nachu horse racing festival.
August 20th, 2023 for a week, Damxung horse racing festival.
The most well-known events are Nakchu Horse Racing Festival and Gyantse Horse Racing Festival. Dressing themselves and their finest horses, hundreds of herdsmen take part in thrilling horse racing, archery and horsemanship contests. Generally lasting several days, with the longest ones over 10 days. Folk dance, art performance, barter trade and other activities add more to the festive mood.
September 9th, 2023.
Last for 1 week. It is believed when the sacred Venus appears in the sky, the water in the river can cure diseases. So Tibetans go to bathe in rivers to wash away potential diseases and wards off misfortune.
Ongkor Festival (Harvest Festival)
End of September, 2023.
A traditional harvest festival held in farming areas when crops ripen. The main ritual is to walk around the crop fields. Activities such as singing, dancing, horseracing, and archery are held.
November 15th, 2023.
A day of prayer honoring the Buddha Shakyamuni’s descent from the heavenly realms to the earth. It is the 22nd day of the 9th month on the Tibetan calendar.
Pelhe Duchen (Palden Lhamo Festival)
December 7th, 2023.
In Lhasa you will see statues of Palden Lhamo the deity of protection. There are special prayers in the goddesses honor and relics are put on display. At the Jokhang Temple there are butter lamps and lots of candles.