Festivals In Tibet


Tibetan New Year (February)

It is the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient time, 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 day families unite “auspicious dipper is offered & the auspicious words “Tashi Delek” are greeted.

Great prayer festival (February)

It is the greatest religious festival in Tibet. Instituted by Tsong Khapa in 1409. The founder of the Gelukpa sect. Monks from the three great Monasteries of the Tibet of Tibet assemble in Jokhang for prayer to Shakyamuni’s image as if it were the living Buddha. Philosophical debates are held among candidates for the doctor of Metaphysics. Pilgrims come from every corner of Tibet & donations are offered to monks.

Butter Lamp (February)

t is the last day of the great prayer festival. In order to celebrate Shakyamuni’s victory over non-Buddhist opponents. The lord of Neu Dzong a noted patron of Tsongkapa illuminated numerous butter–lamps in 1409. Ever since the festival has flourished.

Gyanste horse race & Archery (June - July)

Horse race & archery are generally popular in Tibet and Gyanste enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery & shooting at gallop followed by a few days’ entertainment or picnicing. Presently, ball games, track & field events, folk songs & dances barter trade are in addition to the above.

The world incense day (July)

Gods in heaven are believed to descend to the mortal world on this day. Incense is burnt in large scales & picnicing take place in public parks.

Six-four festival (July - August)

It is believed the Buddha gave his first sermon on this day. People celebrate the festival by paying visits to holy mountains.

Shoton Festival (August - September)

It is the Opera festival and one of the greatest festivals in Tibet. In ancient times pious folks went into mountains hermitages to do penance and on the last day of which yogurt was served for meal followed entertainment of folk songs & dances. Since the 7th century, Opera performances were held for days in Norbulinka. Presently opera contests & distribution of prizes are held for seven days.

Bathing week

It is believed when the sacred planet Venus appears in the sky the water in the river becomes purest & can cure diseases. During its appearance for one week in the sky all town people in Lhasa go into the river for bathing.

Death of Tsongkapa

Tsongkapa, the great reformer of Tibetan Buddhism & founder of the Gelukpa sect, died on this day in 1419 AD. In his memory every household burns countless butter lamps on roof-tops & chant prayers in his honour. Late in the evening Tibetan dumpling is served for supper.

Driving off Evil Spirits (February)

On the eve of Tibetan New year, 29th of the twelve month religious dances are performed in monasteries for driving off evils spirits of the past year. At night in every household traditional means of driving off evil sprits is carried on by burning bundles of straw by throwing rubbish on crossroad. “Year-end dumping” is served for supper.