2018 Festival Calendar
February 16 – 22 – Tibetan New Year festival
May 29 – Saga Dawa
August 11 – 27 – Shoton Festival
Join us for Special Shoton Festival Group Tour. Details.
Losar – Tibetan New Year festival
The Tibetan New Year is celebrated in the beginning of the 12 month according to Tibetan calendar. The preparation for the New Year starts with painting a rectangle cereal container called ”Chemar“ for making contributions to Buddha. It can be filled up with butter, mixed barley cakes, baked barley seeds and ginseng nuts. ”Chemar“ is decorated on the outside with barley ears, cock-flowers, and butter made plates. When New Year’s day breaks, people hold ”Chemar“ and highland barley wine to greet each other by saying”Tashi Delek”. which means “Good wishes and happiness”. People sing and dance, visit relatives or friends for several following days; they drink together and pray for happiness in temples or monasteries. No one is allowed to do any household chores on that day.
Butter Lamp Festival
The Butter Iamp Festival is celebrated on the 15th date of the January according to Tibetan calendar Festival. Lamas from every temple and monastery and civil craftsmen make butter flowers with coloured butter and hang them on the shafts in front of Jokhong Temple; when night comes, butter flowers are lighted; legendary figures, birds and animals painted on the lamps are vivid and eye-catching. People sing and dance under the lamps till daybreak.
Buddha’s Anniversary Festival: It’s common name is “The Festival of Setting Captive Animals Free”. All lamas and laymen do not eat meat and do not kill animals during the whole April month of Tibetan calendar; they pay their homage to Buddha, and chant sutras attentively. It is believed that Sakyamuni was born, enlightened and dead in the 15th of the April month, so every 15 of the April month people gathered by the Dragon king pool rowing boats and singing songs; they picnic and dance in the garden.
Paying Homage to the Holy mountain Festival
The 4th of June in Tibetan calendar is a religious festival for the front Tibetan area. It is believed to be the day Sakyamuni first preached a sermon with prayer wheel. On this day, people go to monasteries and temples to pay their homage to Buddha, to offer joss-sticks and to circumambulate holy mountains; they have picnics and enjoy themselves with singing and dancing in the fields.
The Shoton Festival
Early morning in the 30th June of Tibetan calendar, people gathered at the hill-foot of Drepung Monastery, waiting for the first program of Shoton 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 7th month on, Tibetan drama troupes perform Tibetan operas and dramas in Potala Palace and Norbulingka then they go to other monasteries and temples.
The Bathing Festival
The Festival is held in July, month of Tibetan calendar, it lasts for 7 days from 6 to 12. It is exactly the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, wind moderates and the sunshines on the Plateau. Tibetan people, old and young, man and woman, from towns or countryside or pastoral areas, go to riversides to take a holy bath. It is said to be able to heal diseases and keep fit.
It is a holiday of Tibetan, looking forward to a harvest. It is usually celebrated when crops are ripe and it will last three to five days. People dress up hold colourful flags wit good wishes, carry a ”harvest tower“ built with barley stalks and ears. They sing and dance, beat drums and walk around the fields. On this day, people are also enjoying horse-racing etc… Then they start the intense autumn harvest.
The Fairy Maiden Festival
Every 15th day of the October month in Tibetan calendar is the Maiden Festival. Lots of religious activities are held. Tibetan women regard it their own holiday, so they are more active and energetically than men.