Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tibet Festival Information
Tibetan New Year (February)
It is the greatest festival in Tibet . In ancient time, when the peach tree was in blossom it was considered as the starting of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 A.D the first day of the first month became fixed as the New Year. On the new year’s day families unite “auspicious dipper is offered & the auspicious words “Tashi Delek” are greeted.
Great prayer festival (February)
It is the greatest religious festival in Tibet . Instituted by Tsong Khapa in 1409. The founder of the Gelukpa sect. Monks from the three great Monasteries of the Tibet of Tibet assemble in Jokhang for prayer to Shakyamuni’s image as if it were the living Buddha. Philosophical debates are held among candidates for the doctor of Metaphysics. Pilgrims come from every corner of Tibet & donations are offered to monks.
Butter Lamp (February)
t is the last day of the great prayer festival. In order to celebrate Shakyamuni’s victory over non-Buddhist opponents. The lord of Neu Dzong a noted patron of Tsongkapa illuminated numerous butter –lamps in 1409. Ever since the festival has flourished.
Saga Dawa Festival (May or June)
It is the holiest in Tibet , memorable occasions coincide on this day, Buddha's birth and Buddha's enlightenment. Almost every person within Lhasa joins in circumambulations round the city to spend their late afternoon on picnic at “Dzongyab Lukhang" park at the foot of Potala.
Gyanste horse race & Archery (June-July)
Horse race & archery are generally popular in Tibet and Gyanste enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery & shooting at gallop followed by a few days’ entertainment or picnicing. Presently, ball games, track & field events, folk songs & dances barter trade are in addition to the above.
Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival (August)
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 colourful 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.
Shoton Festival (August)
It is one of the major festivals in Tibet , also known as the Tibetan Opera Festival. The founder of the Gelugpa (Yellow Sect of Buddhism), Tsongkhapa set the rule that Buddhists can cultivate themselves only indoor in summer, to avoid killing other creatures carelessly because creatures are most active in summer. This rule must be carried out till the seventh lunar month then Buddhists go outdoor, accept yoghurt served by local people, and have fun. Since the middle of 17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama added opera performance to this festival. Famous Tibetan opera troupes perform in Norbulingka (Dalai Lama's summer palace).
Bathing Festival (September)
It is believed when the sacred planet Venus appears in the sky, the water in the river becomes purest and cures diseases. During its appearance for one week, usually the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth lunar months, all the people in Tibet go into the river to wash away the grime of the previous year.
Kungbu Traditional Festival (November or December)
Long ago, when Tibet was in danger of large scale invasion, the Kongpo people sent out an army to defend their homeland. It was in September and the soldiers worried that they might miss the New Year, highland barley wine and other good things. So people had the Tibetan New Year on 1st October ahead of time. To memorize those brave soldiers Kongpo people present three sacrifices and stay up at night from then on. And now it has become the Kongpo Festival for entertainment like Kongpo dancing, horse race, archery and shooting.
Harvest Festival (September)
Farmers in Lhasa , Gyantse and Shangnan celebrate their bumer harvest in this time. During that time, people enjoy with horse racing games, custom fashion show, songs and dance Archery and picnic etc.
The Festival of Banishing Evils:
falls on December 29 on the Tibetan calendar (pre-New year Eve) Similar expressions are found in ethnic celebrations around the world with a theme of driving away evil spirits. On that day, a sorcerer's dance is performed in monasteries and a general cleaning is done in every household to get rid of misfortune and pray for godly blessings. Every family will have a traditional New Year's Eve dinner of Guthuk and torches are lit and howling are heard everywhere in a collective prayer for a new year free from misfortunes