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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

Mar. 4 to Mar. 26

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

Dec. 16 

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.

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


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 prote... Read more

Tsongkapa Festival Stresses Prayers, Chants

Nov.

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 fo... Read more

Tibetans Celebrate New Year by Driving Evil Spirits Off

Jan. 29 

Tibetans like to start off the new calendar year with a fresh start. To this end, they celebrate the Driving-off-the-Evil-Spirits festival every 29th day of the last Tibetan Month. The bigge... Read more

Cham in Tshurpu Monastery

May. 20 

The Cham in Tshurpu Monastery is held annually during the fourth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. It commemorates the famous Indian monk Padmasambhava, who traveled to Tibet and neighbori... Read more

Start of the Shigatse Thangka Festival (Buddha Unfolding Festival)

Jul. 11 to Jul. 13

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. 10 to Aug. 15

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

Nov.

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

Sera Monastery Festival

Feb.

With about 500-year history, it is the largest and most popular festival held annually in Sera Monastery, one of the oldest temples in Tibet for Buddhists to show their respects to the vajvakila... Read more

World Incense Festival

Aug.

The legend goes that the World Incense Day is when God in the heaven come to the earth, and the pilgrims will come to the Linka Park of Lhasa to burn incenses and wait for the coming of the God of H... Read more

The Exorcism Festival

Dec. 29 

Tourists looking to experience the charm of the Zang nationality should not miss the annual Exorcism Festival in the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.Festival Activities Torch, costume and yell, exo... Read more

Reincarnation and Transmigration of Buddhas Warrior Attendant

May. 2 to May. 3

Celebrated: May 2, 201 Buddha Warrior Attendant 4Location: LhasaIt’s said that Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, preached Paramadibuddha (one of Buddhist scriptures) after his enlightenment on the d... Read more

The Sunning of Buddha Festival

Jun. 6 

The Sunning of Buddha Festival is held yearly in Kangding Prefecture, Garze Autonomous Prefecture and Sichuan Province on the 8th day of the 4th month according to Tibetan calendar, during which the... Read more

Tibetans Celebrate Lingka Festival in Summer Months

Jul.

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)

Jun. 28 to Jul. 12

Samye Monastery On the 15th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar that is July 15 in 2011 and July 3 in 2012, there is a traditional festival called Zamling Chisang or Universal Prayer D... Read more

Tibet Shoton Festival

Aug. 25 to Aug. 30

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

Sep.

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