Common Tibetan Festivals
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Common Tibetan Festivals

Update: Feb. 8th, 2013

Tibetan New Year Festival

Common Tibetan Festivals – Tibetan New Year Festival

The present Tibetan Calendar regards 1027 as the first year of an era. Tibetan New Year Festival is the first day of New Year. Tibetan New Year Festival is the grandest and most solemn festival in Tibet. There is a series of entertainment activities will be held during Tibet New Year Festival. In most prefectures of Tibet, the Tibetan New Year Festival is held on January 1st in Tibetan Calendar. But Tibetan New Year Festival is held on October 1st in Tibetan Calendar in Nyingchi Prefecture, and held on December 1st in Tibetan Calendar in Shigatse Prefecture. The Kongpo District in Eastern Tibet has the custom of spending New Year Festival in summer.

Common Tibetan Festivals – Great Prayer Festival

The Great Prayer Festival is the most important religious festival in Tibet. It is held from January 3rd to January 25th. It originated from a grand prayer assembly which was held by Tsongkhapa who is the founder of Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism in 1409. During the Great Prayer Festival, monks in three great monasteries of Lhasa will gather in Jokhang Temple to chant scripture and hold the test of Gesi degree (the highest degree of Tibetan Buddhism). Tibetan Buddhism believers in Tibet and other places will come to Lhasa to worship Buddha and give alms. The Great Prayer Festival will end on January 25th after inviting Maitreya Buddha. In recently years, the Great Prayer Festival and Butter Lantern Festival were not held for some reasons. But folk celebration activities in these festivals were still very rich.

Common Tibetan Festivals – Butter Lantern Festival

The Butter Lantern Festival is the climax of Great Prayer Festival. It is held at Barkhor Street. On January 15th in Tibetan Calenar, Tibetans will gather at Barkhor to worship Buddha and circumambulate in daytime and make various flower shelves at evening. At night, they will place a large amount of scriptures which were made up of colorful ghee, in the shape of flowers, threes, figures and animals, and light butter lantern to pray. Tibetan will sing songs and dance. The scene is very hilarious.

Common Tibetan Festivals – Saga Dawa Festival

In Tibetan Calendar, April 15th is the day when Sakyamuni born, passed away and became Buddha, as well as Princess Wencheng came into Tibet. It is said that Tibetans in every place will circumambulate and worship Buddha on this day. Saga Dawa Festival was with rich religious color in early period. Later, it gradually changed to Mass Park Traveling. Thousands of people will circumambulate Lingkhor. In the afternoon of this day, people who circumambulate will go boating, sing songs and dance in Dragon King Pool. Tibetans in other districts will circumambulate local holy mountains or holy lakes.

Common Tibetan Festivals – Gyantse Dama Festival

Gyantse Dama Festival is a folk traditional festival of Gyantse. In general, it will last for seven days. Dama means horse race and shooting in Tibetan Language. It is said that Gyantse Dama Festival originated from Tibetan Fire Mouse Year (1408) when the Buddhist King of Gyantse held sacrifice activities to commemorate his grandfather. In this period, except for Buddha Exhibition, religious dance and other religious activities, there were horse race, wrestle, lifting stone and other entertainment. Later, the horse race and shooting were added into the festival. Since then, Gyantse Dama Festival was fixed.

Common Tibetan Festivals – Shoton Festival

Shoton Festival means "the festival for eating yoghurt". It is a festival symbolizes harvest. Since Tibetans will gather in Lhasa to perform Tibetan Opera, it is also named "Tibetan Opera Festival". It is one of the largest festivals of Tibet.

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