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Tibet Festivals

There are about 30 different Tibetan festivals making up our list of Lhasa festivals and events. Tibetan New Year, the Shoton Festival and the Thangka Festival, when a giant Buddha painting is unfurled, are the highlights. Other festivals are associated with Buddhist monasteries and local traditions and customs.

Lhasa is center of all things Tibetan, so a Lhasa tour, especially one including a minority festival, is the ideal way to experience the culture of Tibet.

Lhasa Festivals and Events List

Monlam Prayer Festival

Feb. 22 to Mar. 6

The Monlam prayer festival is actually almost a two week event. The festival starts on the fourth day of the Tibetan calender and ends of the fifteenth day that is the day called the Butter Lam... Read more

Tibetan Butter Lamp Festival

Mar. 5 

This delicious-sounding festival involves lighting butter lamps (lamps made of butter) and displaying butter sculptures in order to commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s great debating victory over his op... Read more

Saga Dawa Festival

Jun. 2 

The Saga Dawa Festival honors the life of Buddha. According to their tradition, when Buddha was dying, he instructed one of his followers not to honor him merely with flowers, incense and li... Read more

The Homage to Buddhas First Sermon Festival

Buddha Shakyamuni's First TeachingThe Choekor Duechen (or Chokor Duchen) Festival is to commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s first teaching and the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma and the teaching o... Read more

Garma Ri Gi (Tibetan Bathing Festival)

Garma Ri Gi or the Bathing Festival is a mass activity throughout Tibet that takes place on the 7th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar when Venus appears in the sky. It is an annual week-long fest... Read more

Palden Lhamo Festival

Nov. 21 

The Palden Lhamo festival happens on the 15th day of the 10th lunar month in the Tibetan calendar. This festival is to honor a wrathful deity called Palden Lhamo. She is thought of as Tibet's pro... Read more

Tsongkapa Festival Stresses Prayers, Chants

Dec. 1 

The Tsongkhapa Festival, celebrated not only in Tibet, but throughout the Buddhist world, is a simple event. People light butter lamps and pray to Je Tsongkhapa, a 14th century Buddhist monk who ... Read more

Start of the Shigatse Thangka Festival (Buddha Unfolding Festival)

Jul. 30 

Start of the Shigatse Thangka Festival Between the 14th day and the 16th day of the fifth Tibetan lunar calendar month, there is an annual Thangka worship festival where huge Thangka pictures ... Read more

The Ongkor Festival

Aug. 26 to Sep. 25

People are celebrating the Ongkor Festival The Ongkor Festival or Bumper Harvest Festival, as it is also known, takes place in late summer when crops are waiting to be harvested. Included in th... Read more

Ganden Thangka Festival

Aug. 1 

The Ganden Thangka Festival is an important festival at the old Ganden Monastery that was the leading monastery of the Geluk tradition of Tibet. Every year, thousands of people circle the mo... Read more

Lhabab Duechen Festival


The Lhabab Duechen or Duchen Festival is a Tibetan Buddhist festival that commemorates Buddha returning to earth after going to the 33 Heaven at the age of 41. The festival is in the ninth month of ... Read more

Tibetans Celebrate Lingka Festival in Summer Months


Tibetans Celebrate Lingka Festival by Camping Out Summer time is Lingka Festival time in Tibet. This unique holiday isn't a short one, however. It starts on the 15th day of the fourth Tibetan m... Read more

Zamling Chisang (Samye Dolde)

Jul. 31 

Samye Monastery On the 15th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar that is July 31 in 2015, there is a traditional festival called Zamling Chisang or Universal Prayer Day to celebrate Gur... Read more

Tibet Shoton Festival

Aug. 14 

The Shoton Festival is one of the most popular traditional festivals in Tibet. It celebrates eating yogurt, the Tibetan monks who end their season of meditation, the watching of Tibetan drama... Read more

Nagqu Horse Racing Festival

Aug. 10 to Aug. 14

Nagqu Horse Racing Festival The Nagqu Horse Racing Festival is the grandest annual event in northern China's Nagqu Prefecture, the largest prefecture in Tibet Autonomous Region, aka Tibet, and i... Read more

Gyantse Horse Race Festival

Jun. 8 to Jun. 27

In rugged beautiful high-altitude country about 245 kilometers southwest of Lhasa is the ancient town of Gynatse where there are annual athletic contests on the fourth lunar month of the Tib... Read more