Tibetan Festivals

Tibetan Festivals are closely associated with our religion and spiritual life. Majority of the Tibetan festivals are celebrated in the monastery and religious institutions. Here are some of the Main festivals of Tibet celebrated in Tibet every year.

Tibetan Festivals Calendar

Main festivals of Tibet

Here is the list of Key Tibetan Festivals 

Tibetan New Year 

The Tibetan New Year – namely Losar in the Tibetan language – is based on Tibetan astrology, a synthesis of Indian and Chinese astrology so the New Year begins on a new moon. Losar usually falls in late January or February and lasts 15 days, but the first three days are most important. On the eve of Losar, monasteries hold special prayers in preparation for the Losar celebrations.

Saga Dawa Festival 

Saga Dawa festival occurs in the 4th month of Tibetan lunar calendar, Saga Dawa is called the “month of merits”. It is the most important month.  All the Buddhists believe that the result of positive and negative thoughts and actions in this month are multiplied 100,000 times. It is one of the important Tibetan festivals.

Shoton Festival

Shoton Festival, which literally means “Yoghurt Banquet Festival”, is one of the most important Tibetan festivals. It involves both religious and cultural celebrations and attracts hundreds of thousands of local Tibetans, it is also a major highlight for tourist from the world over to observe and experience the unique culture, religion, and traditions of Tibet.

Bathing festival

The Bathing Festival usually falls on the first ten days of July according to the Tibetan calendar. Lasting a week, it is also known as the Bathing Week. The bathing practice has at least eight-hundred-year history. During the festival, tens of thousands of Tibetan men and women take along various foods, butter tea local barley beer and go to the river or lake to have baths. 

Great Prayer Festival

The great prayer festival is known as “Monlam Chenmo” in Tibetan. This typical Buddhist festival falls in the 4th – 11th day of the 1st lunar month.  The festival was established by the great master Tsongkhapa in 1409, the founder of Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism to commemorate and in honor of Buddha Shakyamuni.

Harvest Festival or Wongkor

Harvest Festival or “Wongkor festival” in Tibetan is very popular in all the farming areas of Tibet. During the time of Pudi Kongyal, the ninth king of Tibet, and his minister Rulekye, agriculture developed significantly as they paid great importance to it. The Bonpo followers walked around fields and prayed for a good harvest and slowly it became a folk festival, therefore the tradition dates to before the coming of Buddhism.

Butter Lamp Festival or Chunga Choepa

The butter lamp festival or “Chunga Choepa” in Tibetan is one of the major highlighting events in Tibetan Buddhism primarily to commemorate the great master Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. The festival will be held on 15th day of the 1st lunar month in every Gelugpa monasteries making it a huge temple fair.

Pal Lhamo Festival

Pal Lhamo or Dharmapala Palden Lhamo is one of the more wrathful female deities of Buddhism. Among her many roles, she is the special protector of the city of Lhasa, the Gelukpa Order, and the Dalai Lamas of Tibet. She was invited to Tibet in around the eleventh century from India.

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