Tibetan New Year (February or March)
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 AD.,
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 and the auspicious
words " tashi delek" are greeted.
Butter Oil Lantern Festival (February or March)
It's held on the 15th of the first lunar month. Huge
yak-butter sculptures are placed around Lhasa's
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
Lukhang" park at the foot of Potala.
Gyantse Horse Race & Archery (May or June)
Horse race and archert 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 picnicing. Presently, ball games,
track and field events, folk songs and dances,
barter trade are in addition to the above.
Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival (August)
There are many horse racing festivals in Tibet, the
one in Nagqu of Northern Tibet is the greatest.
August is the golden season on Northern Tibet's vast
grassland. Herdsmen , on their horsebacks, in
colorful dresses, carrying tents and local products,
pour into Nagqu. Soon they form a city of tents.
Various exciting programs are held, such as horse
racing, yak racing, archery, horsemanship and
Shoton Festival (August)
It is one of the major festivals in Tibet, also
known as the Tibetan Opera Festival. The founder of
the Gelugpa (Yellow Sect of Buddhism), Tsongkhapa
set the rule that Buddhists can cultivate themselves
only indoor in summer, to avoid killing other
creatures carelessly. Because creatures are most
active in summer. This rule must be carried out till
the seventh lunar month. Then Buddhists go outdoor,
accept yoghurt served by local people, and have fun.
Since the middle of 17th century, the Fifth Dalai
Lama added opera performance to this festival.
Famous Tibetan opera troupes perform in Norbulingka
(Dalai Lama's summer palace).
Bathing Festival (September)
It is believed when the sacred planet Venus appears
in the sky, the water in the river becomes purest
and cures diseases. During its appearance for one
week, usually the end of the seventh and beginning
of the eighth lunar months, all the people in Tibet
go into the river to wash away the grime of the
Kungbu Traditional Festival (November or December)
Long long ago, when Tibet was in danger of large
scale invasion, the Kongpo people sent out an army
to defend their homeland. It was in September and
the soldiers worried that they might miss the New
Year, highland barley wine and other good things. So
people had the Tibetan New Year on 1st October ahead
of time. To memorize those brave soldiers Kongpo
people present three sacrifices an stay up at night
from then on. And now it has become the Kongpo
Festival for entertainment like Kongpo dancing,
horse race, archery and shooting.
Harvest Festival (September)
The farmers in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shangnan to
celebrating their bumer harvest in this time. During
that time, people enjoy with horse racing games,
custom fashion show, songs and dance Archery and