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Tibetan Festival Calendar

Edited by on 2018-01-31 11:33:32

Dates of Tibetan Festivals are traditionally based on lunar calendar, the lunar calendar is calculated each year by astrologers from Mentse Khang (Tibetan Traditional Medicine Centre). Normally a year contain12 months, but the missing or addition of an extra intercalary month for astrological reasons is not uncommon. So the festivals dates are vary in every year. Generally Tibetan Lunar month is about two months behind the western calendar.

Most of the Tibetan festivals on the Tibetan plateaus are deeply connected with their strong Buddhist influence or rich ancestral culture. During the festivals, all the people wear traditional costume and perform different traditional dances and ritual activities. Festival is the best way to experience the breathing culture and tradition of the local and their ethnical affinity.Many Tibetan festivals are traditoinally held throughout the Tibetan calendar - some are nationwide and others applicable to a certain area only.
2018 Tibetan Festival Calendar
Festival Venue Events   Year 2018
Tibetan New Year All Tibetan areas Tibetan New Year is characterized especially by dancing, music, and a general spirit of merrymaking. Feb. 16
The Monlam Prayer Festival Jokhang Monastery Monks perform traditional Tibetan Buddhist dances during Monlam Prayer Festival, and cakes are made with butter sculptures. Feb. 19
The Butter Lamp Festival Lhasa People sing and dance throughout the night, and thousands of lights are kept burning until dawn. Mar. 2
The Thangka Unveiling at Tashilunpo Tashilunpo Monastery The big Thangka with a Buddha image on it is unfolded, and the people all gather in front of the Thangka to pray. Jun. 28
Zamling Chisang Lhasa Tibetans gather together to burn incense to worship Buddha. Jun. 28
Saga Dawa Lhasa Saga Dawa is the peak time to worship Buddha for Tibetans, and a peak time for pilgrimages. May. 29
The Gyantse Horse Race Festival Gyantse This festival is held in Gyantse, a county southwest of Lhasa with horse racing, Tibetan opera, ball games, etc. Jul. 20
Choekor Duechen / Tukbe Tseshi Lhasa Tibetans wear festival clothes to celebrate this festival and walk around a mountain and lake clockwise. Jul. 16
Samye Dhoede Samye Monastery Monks wear festival clothes and masks, and dance to drive away bad things and devils. Jun. 28
The Ganden Thangka Showing Ganden Monastery


A big Thangka with a Buddha image on it is unveiled at Ganden Monastery.  Aug. 27
The Nagqu Horse Race Festival Nagqu An important event in northern Tibet, everyone dresses in their finest and most colorful clothing. Aug. 1
Shoton Festival Lhasa A big thangka with an image of Buddha on it is unveiled at Drepung Monastery. People enjoy yoghourt together on this day. Aug. 11
Karma Dunba (The Bathing Festival) Lhasa Tibetans take a bath together in the river to drive away illness. Aug. 9
Lhabab Duechen Lhasa Buddha is said to return to earth on this day. Tibetans burn incenses in monasteries and pray. Nov. 10
Palden Lhamo Festival Jokhang Monastery and Barkhor Street The statue of the wrathful deity Palden Lhamo is carried at the head of a parade on Barkhor Street. Nov. 23
Ganden Nga-Choe Lhasa People celebrate this festival by lighting butter lamps. Feb. 10
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