Tibet is a land of wonder and enchantment, and its vibrant festivals are a celebration of its rich cultural heritage. From the Tibetan New Year to the Harvest Festival, these events offer an opportunity to witness the region’s customs and traditions in all their glory.
Calculated according to the lunar calendar, these festivals are a time of unity and joy, and visitors from all over the world come to join in the celebrations. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a curious newcomer, these festivals are not to be missed during your visit to Tibet.
Let us guide you through the top five festivals that will enchant and inspire you:
- Tibetan New Year: Celebrated on the first day of the first month, the Tibetan New Year is a feast for the senses. With Lhasa and the rest of the province at its most colorful, families come together to dine and exchange auspicious words.
- Monlam: Known as the great prayer festival, Monlam is a time of devotion and contemplation. The icon of the maitreya from the jokhang is borne around the barkhor, attracting pilgrims and locals alike.
- Saga Dawa Festival: Marked as the birth of Buddha and His enlightenment, the Saga Dawa Festival is the holiest of the festivals in Tibet. People join the circumambulations round the city and spend afternoons picnicking at the foot of the Potala Palace.
- Shoton Festival: A celebration of Tibetan opera, the Shoton Festival offers a chance to witness opera contests and distribution of prizes for a week in August.
- Ganden Festival: An exhibition of the 25 precious articles of the Ganden monastery, the Ganden Festival is a display of beauty and grandeur. These treasures are displayed only in the main shrine hall on the 15th day of the 6th Tibetan month, accompanied by a grand offering ceremony.
And finally, the Harvest Festival in September is a time of celebration and merriment, where farmers commemorate their bumeer harvest with horse racing games, songs, dance archery, picnic, and costume fashion shows.
Tibet’s festivals are a true reflection of the region’s rich culture and traditions. So pack your bags, put on your most fashionable outfit, and get ready to immerse yourself in a world of color and wonder in Tibet.