Tibet Festivals 2023 The festivities in Tibet are unlike any other festivals anywhere in the world. Tibet is where these festivals originated. The majority of these spectacular events began as daily routines in Tibet that were eventually transformed into festivals. The Tibet Nature Tour Agency would be pleased to plan any tours for you if you wanted to attend any of Tibet’s festivals.
List of Tibet Festivals for 2023
|Losar (Tibetan New Year)||Whole Tibetan Area||Feb 21st|
|Great Prayer Festival||Lhasa||Feb 23rd|
|Saga Dawa||Whole Tibetan Area||May 20th – June 18th|
|Tsurpu Monastery’s Cham Dance||Tsurpu Monastery||May 21st|
|Gyantse Damag(Horse Racing)||Gyantse County||July 19th|
|Tashi Lunpo Thangka Display||Shigatse Town||July 2nd|
|Zamling Chisang/ Samye Dodei||Samye/ Tibetan Area||July 3rd|
|Yangpachen Religious Dance||Yangpa Chen||July 16th|
|Ganden Thangka Display||Ganden Monastery||Aug 1st|
|Shoton Festival||Lhasa City||Aug 16th – 23rd|
|Bathing Festival||Whole Tibetan Area||Nov 20th|
|Kongpo/ Purang New Year||Kongpo/ Purang||Nov 14th|
|Butter Lamp Festival||Lhasa City||Dec 7th|
Detail Information on Tibet Festivals in 2023
(1st -15th Day of 1st Month of Tibetan Lunar Calendar)
The 1st Tibet Festival of year is the Tibetan New Year. The Tibetan term for “New Year” is Losar. The Tibetan New Year is a particularly unique festival that is celebrated in Tibet. It is also the event that all Tibetans, regardless of gender or age, look forward to the most.
Tibetans purge their homes of all ills, evil spirits, and other hindrances on the final night of the year, and then they pray for a successful new year. Nyi-Shu-Gu is another name for this eve night.
Losar is generally enjoyed for about 15 days in the majority of Tibetan communities. The first three days are the principal celebrations, during which Tibetans visit temples and monasteries to pray for a good new year. The next 12 days are spent with friends and family.
On the first day of Losar, known as Lama Losar, people dress in traditional clothing and enjoy Changkol with their families, beginning very early in the morning (a hot beverage made primarily of Channg and dried cheese with some sugar). After an early breakfast, they visit the temples and monasteries to have a healthy New Year.
Gyalpo’s Losar, also known as the King’s Losar, is the second day. Historically the day on which Tibetan Kings and other leaders are honored.
The third day is often referred to as Choe-Kyong Losar, the day when worshippers demonstrate gratitude to protectors or deities by raising prayer flags on holy hills, changing the prayer flags at their residences, and facilitating a pleasant scent by burning junipers and incense.
The Losar is the most important Tibet Festival for the Tibetan people; therefore, if you can schedule your Tibet tour at that time of year, you will be able to experience Tibetan culture and customs as well as get a glimpse into Tibetan daily life.
(15 Day of 1st Month of Tibetan Lunar Calendar)
The Tsong Khapa founded the Lhasa Monlam Chenmo event, also known as the Great Prayer Festival, which is celebrated annually throughout Tibet. The major goals of this Great Prayer Festival are to pray for world peace and the long lives of all the great gurus. It is a very special Tibet Festival for religious activity in Tibet.
(Full Month of 4th Month of Tibetan Calendar)
This Tibet Festival is more related with buddhism and, the Saga Dawa month is regarded as the most important spiritual month. Buddhists universally hold the belief that if we carry out good activities during this month, the outcome will be multiplied, and if we carry out wicked deeds during this month, the result will likewise be multiplied.
The main justification for this is because the Saga Dawa historically identifies the day that Buddha Shakyamuni was born, attained enlightenment via redemption, and attained Nirvana.
People are highly active in performing all good activities and making pilgrimages to gain merit. The majority of Tibetans abstain from meat consumption on that day, and they begin to do so starting on the first of the month and continuing until the full moon or until the 15th day of the month.
The main reason behind this is, that historically the Saga Dawa makes the date of Buddha Shakyamuni’s conception of Being Birthed, Enlightened from salvation, and entering into Nirvana. Therefore, this religious Tibet Festival is celebrated in most of the Buddhist regions in the world.
People are very active in doing all positive deeds and also going on pilgrimages to accumulate merits. Most Tibetan People during that day avoid eating meat, and they start to skip eating meat from the first day of the month to the full moon or the 15th day of the month.
(15th – 24th of 5th Month of Tibetan Calendar )
Sho-Ton; in Tibetan, “Sho” means yogurt, and “Ton” denotes a banquet. It is the Yogurt Banquet Festival in Tibet. It is a wonderful festival because vegetarian meals are preferred on the first day of the celebration, which is considered Tibet’s Vegetarian Day.
This Tibet Festival was first instituted in Tibet during the 17th century by the Great Fifth Dalai Lama. Tibetan nomads and common people offered yogurt to the Dalai Lama and the monks at that time. After having yogurt, many monks started going on 30-day retreats to avoid killing summertime insects and to offer them prayers for a happier afterlife.
Later, numerous other events were added to this yogurt festival, including a Tibetan opera dance. The festival is now being celebrated from the 15th to the 24th of the fifth Tibetan calendar month. It often occurs in the middle or at the start of August each year.
The Big Thangka will be displayed at Drepung and Sera Monasteries to begin the celebration very early in the morning. Following that, the Tibetan opera dance will be performed in the Norbu Lingkha Palace.
You should get to Sera Monastery or Drepung Monastery very early in the morning if you wish to witness this event. In the afternoon, you may visit the Norbu Lingka Palace to enjoy the Tibetan Opera Dance.
(15th – 24th of 5th Month of Tibetan Calendar )
Samye Dodei, also known as Zamling Chisang, is an important religious festival in Tibet and is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the fifth month. Particularly in Samye Monastery, the monks perform a holy ritual dance known as Cham.
The tradition originates in the eighth century. Padmasambhava (the great Indian scholar) restrained every one of the powerful Bon’s spirits. Finally, the Samye Monastery was again built by employing all those spirits.
The monastery was unable to develop at that time because the Bon’s spirits repeatedly destroyed it at night. The monastery was finally able to construct after they took the oath from Padmasambhava. The Samye Monastery is claimed to have been constructed by people during the day and by demons or protectors during the night.
Tibetans burn a lot of incense on the peak of Hippo Ri Hill near Samye Monastery to commemorate this unique day. For 1,300 years, Samye has been the place to celebrate this unique festival.
(7th – 13th Day of 7th Month of Tibetan Calendar )
In the glow of the moon, Tibetans take ritual baths in local springs and rivers. The seven-day celebration starts on the seventh day of the seventh month. People who had a bath during that time are believed to be physically strong and immune to diseases, and they particularly hold the belief that they won’t experience cold during Tibet’s winter.
(25th Day of 10th Month of Tibetan Lunar Calendar )
The Butter Lamp Festival is essentially a memorial service for the Great Scholar Tsongkapa. He was both the founder of the Gelukpa School and a significant reformer of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Barkhor Square served as a spectacular display space for enormous “Tormas” made of butter that were crafted into a variety of lamps and Tibetan auspicious symbols. All of the Tibetans will be doing prostrations and reciting mantras all around the Jokhang Temple.
The Wongkor Festival is the Tibetan name for the harvest celebration. In every farming region of Tibet, this celebration is particularly well-liked.
Pudi Kong-Gyal, the 9th King of Tibet, and his minister Rulei- Kye gave the expansion of agricultural output a high priority, and they saw remarkable results by the end of the year.
Since then, Tibetans have marched around fields while praying for a healthy harvest, and through time, this practice has evolved into a traditional Tibetan celebration. It has a history that spans more than 1,500 years.
The primary reason Tibetans celebrate the festival is to wish and pray that they will be able to endure all-natural calamities and have a fulfilling, excellent crop for the year.
The timing of this celebration varies depending on the temperature and elevation of each location in Tibet.
People dress in new attire and carry Buddhist texts on their backs as they celebrate this wonderful festival.
In addition to strolling the fields, people may participate in various unique activities including horse and yak racing, Tibetan opera dance performances, and circle dancing.
During the day, everyone in the agricultural area wakes very early, gathers some product from the field, and then offers it to the three jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. They also pray for a prosperous crop the following year and offer offerings to the Naga, also known as water spirits, and the local deities. Additionally, it is a time to express gratitude to local Naga spirits or water spirits after a successful agricultural season.
After the festivities are complete, they enjoy delicious cuisine, refreshing beverages, singing, and dancing with their family and the locals. They also ask their loved ones and friends to join them in celebrating this wonderful occasion.
- Plan Tibet Tour itinerary: Once you decided to visit Tibet, you will need to speak with the travel agency about your detail tour itinerary in Tibet. Which will include all the places that you plan to visit, the dates of your travel and accommodations.
- Get receive a China visa: You will need a valid China Visa before applying the Tibet Travel Permit. You can apply for the China Visa from the China Embassy or China Consulate based in your home country.
If you plan to come from Nepal, then you’re not allow to apply for the China visa from your home country. Instead, you’ll have to apply the China Group Visa also known as Tibet Group Visa. This visa will be provided from China Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal for the foreigners who are intended to enter Tibet from Nepal side.
- Tibet travel permit: Your travel agency in Tibet will connect the soft copy of your China Visa and Passport and submit them for applying the Tibet Travel permit to the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Normally, the procedure will take around one to two weeks according to your travel destinations in Tibet. If you are planning to visit Mt. Kailash, then the process may take around 20 days or more. The Tibet Tourism Bureau will be closed during the official holidays; therefore, it is the best to summit the application before a month tour departure date.
Once your Tibet Travel Permit is approved from the Tibet Tourism Bureau, your travel agency will send the original hard copy of the permit to your hand. You will have to present your Tibet Visa along with your passport while you’re boarding on flights, train or entering Tibet from Tibet Nepal Border.
Tibet Flight Info
Lhasa Gonkhar Airport receives over 80 flights daily. Many of these flights are from major mainland cities. There are just two flights from Kathmandu, Nepal, in a week. Wednesday and Friday are generally the days that flights from Kathmandu are available. Due to high demand, you probably find flights to Lhasa on other days of the week.
Tibet Train Info
Tibet began to receive trains from China in 2008. Many who were concerned about getting altitude sickness no longer needed to be anxious because of train journey would give them plenty of time to acclimatize. Xining is the ideal station to catch a train to Lhasa. We can help by getting you a train ticket to Lhasa from Xining or other major cities.
Hotels in Tibet
Due to recent years’ development in the Tourism Industry, the average of every hotel in Tibet had leveled up. Therefore we try to find the most suitable accommodation for you.
Tibet Travel Permit
A Tibet travel permit is the most important document you will need while entering Tibet. The Tibet Travel Document serves the same purpose as a visa for entry into Tibet. We will assist you with obtaining the permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau, without any issues. The procedure normally takes between 7 to 14 days.