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Collection of China Tibetan Festivals

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During time of touring the holy land Lhasa, the most exciting part must be the local festivals which have a real colorful cultural system of worship, memorial activities, community and playing. Besides, the Tibetan calendar is very different with the solar calendar, and usually have four to six weeks lagged behind, such as the Tibetan first month usually falls in February, and the Fifth Month usually falls in June or early July.

  • New Year Festival

Month: 1st of the 1st Month
Location: Jokhang Temple
Brief Introduction:
The most important festival in Tibet, at that time, Tibetans will get up early, take bath and wear new clothes, worship their gods in their households and visit their friends and relatives, dance and sing in the open-air squares to celebrate the New Year. These celebrating activities could last until the 10th of the 1st month, and the main activities are held in the Jakhong Temple, such as worshiping gods, Subpoenaed puja etc. However, the time of Tibetan New Year is at the tourist off season, so the sir services will be suspended from 1st to 5th days.



  • Lantern Festival


Month: 15th of the 1st month
Location: Jokhang Temple, Barkor Street (Eight Corridor Street)
Brief Introduction: High tide of the celebrations of the Tibetan New Year. On this day, people go to temples to burn incense to worship Buddhas, and at night, they will put up many stands (2 or 3 -storey high ) to display the butter lanterns, which are in forms of gods, figures, flowers and trees, birds and beasts etc. The lights make the whole Baguo Street bright as in the day.

 

  • Saka Dawa Festival

Month: 15th of the 4th month
Brief Introduction: It is believed by the followers that the Lord Buddha, Sakyamuni experienced his birth, enlightenment and death on 15th of the 4th month, known as Saka Dawa. At that day, Tibetan monks, nuns, tourists and residents with their spiritual leader of Dalai Lama, flocked to the area of Jokhang Temple, Potala Temple, and the whole city is full of the smoke of the burning incense.

 

  • Shoton Festival (also known as Yoghurt Festival)

Month: 1st of the 7th Month
Location: Drepung Temple, Norbulingka Summer Palace
Brief Introduction:
Actually, Sho in Tibetan means Yoghurt and Ton means Banquet, so Shoton Festival in Tibet also called Yoghurt Festival and known by most foreigners. Slowly, the activities of Shoton Festival changed into an activity with Tibetan opera for at that day many other places’ Tibetan artists will gather in Norbulingka Summer Palace to give performances, so people also called it the Tibet Opera Festival.

 

  • Wangguo Festival

Month: 4th of 6th month
Location: Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan area
Brief Introduction: it is originated from a religious festival during which the farmers prayed for goof harvests with new clothes, colored flags and good wishes. Subsequently, it is changed into a celebration with various activities, such as horse-racing, physical competitions, singing and dancing and trading etc.

 

  • Washing Festival


Month: 1st of 7th Month
Location: Lhasa Riverside
Brief Introduction:
It is widely believed by the Tibetans that the water from 1st to 7th in 7th month is the holiest and can cure the ill and remove the dirty from the mind and clothes, so during this week, most of the Tibetans will come to the riverside to have a wash.

 

  • Fairy Maiden Festival (also known as the Mother of Heaven Festival)

Month: 15th of 10th Month
Location: Jokhang Monastery, Barkor Street
Brief Introduction:
Every October 15th on the Tibetan Calendar, the Tibetans, especially Tibetan women will gather in Lhasa around the Jokhang Temple to pray for happy marriage and true love. It is common to see the Jokhang Temple and Barkor Street get shrouded in the light blue smokes of the burning incense.

 

  • Tsong Khapa Festival (also known as Lighting Festival)


Month: 25th of 10th Month
Location: Tibet
Brief Introduction:
It is a Memorial festival of the Buddhism reformer, founder of Gelug Buddhism, Tsong Khapa’s death. At that day the altars of temples, and houses of the Tibetans, who believe in Gelug Buddhism will light the butter lamps and keep it light in days.

 

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