Festivals in Tibet

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. From 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 Years Day, families unite auspicious dipper is offered and the auspicious words tashi delek are greeted.

Butter Oil Lantern Festival (February or March):

This festival takes place on the 15th of the first lunar month. Huge yak-butter sculptures are placed around Lhasas Barkhor circuit.

Saga Dawa Festival (May or June):

Saga Dawa festival is the holiest in Tibet, there memorable occasions coincide on this day, Buddhas birth and Buddhas enlightenment. Almost every person within Lhasa joins in circumambulations round the city and spends their late afternoon on picnic at Dzongyab Lukhang park at the foot of Potala.

Gyantse Horse Race Archery Festival (May or June):

Horse race and archert are very popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. In the context of early period, horse race, archery and shooting followed by a few days entertainment or picnicking. Presently, ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition on them.

Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival (August):

There are many horse racing festivals in Tibet, the one in Nagqu of Northern Tibet is the greatest which takes place in August as this period is the golden season on Northern Tibets vast grassland. Herdsmen, on their horsebacks, in colorful dresses, carrying tents and local products, come to Nagqu. Various exciting programs are held, such as horse racing, yak racing, archery, horsemanship and commodity fair.

Shoton Festival (August):

Shoton is one of the major festivals in Tibet which is called Tibetan Opera Festival too. 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 as creatures are most active in summer. This rule must be carried out till the seventh lunar month. Since the middle of 17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama added opera performance to this festival. Famous Tibetan opera troupes perform in Norbulingka (Dalai Lamas summer palace).

Bathing Festival (September):

It is believed that 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 dust of the previous year.

Kungbu Traditional Festival (November or December):

Long time 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 and stay up at night from then on. And now it has become the Kongpo Festibal 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, costum fashion show, songs and dance Archery and picnic etc.

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