Home Chinese Festivals Tibet Festivals Tsongkapa Festival Stresses Prayers, Chants

Tsongkapa Festival Stresses Prayers, Chants

  • Celebrated: Dec. 1 
  • Location: Lhasa

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 founded the Great Prayer Day.

Tsongkhapa: Famous Buddhist Teacher

Tsongkhapa, who died in 1419, founded the Geluk order of Buddhism. His name translates as "the man from Onion Valley." He was a great teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, and founded Ganden Monastery in 1409. His legacy includes 18 volumes of his writing on Buddhist philosophy and teachings.

Festival Prayer and Butter Lamps

The festival honoring Tsongkhapa takes place on the anniversary of his death, on the 15th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar. In 2013, the festival will be celebrated on October 25.

Butter lamps are lit on roofs of houses, temples and monasteries, and also line the streets of Tibetan cities. Because of this, the festival is sometimes known as the Butter Lamp Festival. People chant sutras and pray. Tibetan dumplings are served in the evening for supper.