The unique Tibetan culture is one of the most important features that attracts millions of people travel to Tibet every year. What is the best way to experience the local customs and cultures?
Attend the Tibetan Festivals with the locals!
Scattered sparsely on the vast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the possibilities for Tibetans getting together were relatively slim. As festivals provide these kinds of opportunity, in their long history many festivals have evolved and have gained great popularity among Tibetans.
The major Tibetan festivals include:
Tibetan New Year
The importance of the Tibetan New Year equals that of Lunar New Year among the Han people, or that of Christmas in the West. It is a festival to say farewell to the current year and welcome in the new.
Horse race and archery are generally popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Presently ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.
Also known as yogurt banquet in Tibetan, Shoton Festival is the liveliest festival of summer. In the past, lamas locked themselves away in their monasteries during this season to devote themselves entirely to Buddhism for a month. When their devotions were over, lamas left the monastery to receive donations from the locals.
Nagqu Horse-racing Festival
There are many horse racing festivals in Tibet, the one in Nagqu of Northern Tibet is the greatest. August is the golden season on Northern Tibet's vast grassland. Herdsmen, on their horsebacks, in colorful dresses, carrying tents and local products, pour into Nagqu. Soon they form a city of tents. Various exciting programs are held, such as horse racing, yak racing, archery, horsemanship and commodity fair.
The Tibetan festivals' holding date in 2013.
|Festival||Tibetan Calendar||Gregorian Calendar|
|Tibetan New Year||Hor-zla Dang-po (1st Month). 1||Feb. 11||Mar. 2|
|Monlam Prayer Festival||Hor-zla Dang-po (1st Mounth). 4 - 11||Feb. 14 - Feb. 21||Mar. 5 - Mar. 12|
|Butter Lamp Festival||Hor-zla Dang-po (1st Mounth). 15||Feb. 25||Mar. 16|
|Saga Dawa Festival||Hor-zla Bzhi-pa (4th Month). 15||May. 25||Jun. 12|
|Thangka unveling Tashilunpo||Hor-zla Lnga-pa (5th Month). 15||Jun. 23||Jul. 12|
|Zamling Chisang/Samye Dolde||Hor-zla Lnga-pa (5th Month). 15||Jun. 23||Jul. 12|
|Choekor Duechen/Tukbe Tseshi||Hor-zla Drug-pa (6th Month). 4||Jul. 12||Jul. 31|
|Ganden Thangka Uneling||Hor-zla Drug-pa (6th Month). 15||Jul. 22||Aug. 10|
|Shoton Festival||Hor-zla Drug-pa (6th Month). 30||Aug. 6||Aug. 25|
|Labrang Festival||Hor-zla Ddun-pa (7th Month). 8||Aug. 14||Sep. 2|
|Karma Dunba (shower festival)||Hor-zla Ddun-pa (7th Month). 17||Aug. 22||Sep. 8|
|Nakchu Horse Race||Aug. 10||Aug. 10||Aug. 10|
|Yushu Horse Race||Jul. 25||Jul. 25||Jul. 25|
|Litang Horse Race||Aug. 1||Aug. 1||Aug. 1|
|Lhabab Duechen||Hor-zla Dgu-pa (9th Month). 22||Nov. 24||Nov. 13|
|Palden Lhamo Festival||Hor-zla Bcu-pa (10 Month). 15||Dec. 17||Dec. 6|
|Ganden Nga-Choe||Hor-zla Bcu-pa (10 Month). 25||Dec. 27||Dec. 16|