Tibetan Festivals are based on the Tibetan calendar, which varies every year in the solar calendar. Their exact solar date is calculated each year a few months prior by astrologers from Mentse Khang, aka - Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, which in charge of researching for Tibetan medicine and calculating Tibetan calendar.

On the internet, there are various versions of the exact dates of Tibetan festivals in 2019, which is very confusing. But here at Great Tibet Tour, we try our best to provide you the most accurate ones which are doubled-checked.

Losar Festival – Tibetan New Year

February 24th. 2020

Losar Festival could count as the most important festival for the Tibetan people. Started from the last day of the past year, Losar Festival is a moment for the family to enjoy a happy time and greet the coming year. There are usually three days celebrating Losar. Tibetan people will clean the house thoroughly on the first day, which implies to kick out the bad luck. Then, the housewife will prepare special food for Losar. The second day, the monasteries will hold the traditional ceremonies to expel the demons which exist everywhere. The laypeople will go to the monastery and put an offering to the Buddhist deities. On the third day, Tibetan people will gather together, singing, dancing, while eating the fancy dinner. If you happen to be here during this time, the hospitable Tibetan people will invite you to their lovely home, where you can be affected by joy and happiness easily.

Losar Festival – Tibetan New Year

Tsurphu Cham Dance Festival

Date: June 2nd. 2020

Located 70 kilometers from Lhasa city, Tsurphu Monastery is not as famous as other monasteries like Drepung, Tashilhunpo, etc. But it is the main monastery of Kargyu Tibetan Buddhism. Besides, the world-known reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism was founded here for the first time, which spread by other sects afterward. Tsurphu Cham Dance Festival celebrates the eminent Indian monk, Padmasambhava, who was invited by the Tibetan King to teach Buddhism in Tibet.

Saga Dawa Festival

Date: June 15th. 2020

The 15th. Day of every fourth month in the Tibetan calendar is an important day as it was the birthday of Sakyamuni, as well as the time of his enlightenment and entry into nirvana. There are two places for honoring the greatest Buddha. One is Lhasa; another one is Mt. Kailash. Thousands of Buddhist devotees come to Tibet to do a kora by following the Lhasa Lingkhor circuit or Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar route.

Thangka Unveiling Festival at Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse

Date: July 4th. 2020

You can see three precious Thangkas, which are the treasures of Tashilhunpo Monastery unveiled today. It’s the only time to see those Thangkas during a year because they are well preserved in the monastery for the rest of the year. After the ceremony, the monks will perform a cham dance.

Samye Dolde (Samye Festival)

Date: June 28th. 2019

Located in the Lhoka Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, Samye Monastery was built in the 8th. Century A.D. It is the first monastery in Tibet to require monks tonsured. Samye Festival has the same date as the Tashilhunpo Monastery festival. The monks will hold some traditional ceremonies and have a religious dancing show. The laypeople will put the Buddhist scriptures on the shoulder and walk around the mountains surrounded Samye Monasteries. They believe it could help them reduce their sins. After that, they will go to Samye Monastery and spend a night there.

Saga Dawa Festival

Gyantse Horse Racing Festival

Date: August 4th. 2019

Nagqu Horse Racing Festival

Date: August 10th. 2019

As nomads, Tibetan people have a very deep feeling for horses. Thus, they love to hold horse racing games to remind them never to forget their blood. There are many horse racing festivals with different scales in Tibet every year. The big ones held in Gyantse, or Nagqu, except for the horse racing, you can also enjoy a big opening show and some other interesting activities, such as the Archery competition, Yak’s Burlesque, etc.

Shoton Festival

Date: August 20th. 2020

Besides of Shoton Festival, this feast has another three names, Yogurt Festival, Tibetan Opera Festival, and Buddha Exhibition Festival. It was originated from Drepung Monastery in the 11th. Century. According to the scripture of Tibetan Buddhism, the monks were not allowed to go out in summer in case of killing the small creatures. Began from the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar, they had to stay in the monasteries until the end of the sixth month. The laypeople would offer them yogurt for comforting their hard practice after they come out. To the present day, the opening of the Shoton Festival is the huge Thangka displayed at the back hill of Drepung Monastery. Then, there will be a traditional Tibetan opera in Norbulingka Park, where you can enjoy the fancy show with Tibetan people while eating the tasty Tibetan yogurt.

Ganden Nga-Choe (Lotus Lantern Festival, Festival of Lights)

Date: December 10th. 2020

It could say Ganden Monastery Lantern Festival is the last Tibetan festival in 2020, which is a feast in memory of the founder of Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhism. People light thousands of butter lanterns in Ganden Monastery and on the streets of Lhasa, which is absolutely a beautiful scene, especially in the night.

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