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Tibetan Calendar of Tibet Festivals

2017 Tibetan festival calendar dates listed below are based on Gregorian Calendar 2017 calculated according to Tibetan Calendar. Kinds of ceremony activities, vivid mask dances, giant Buddha painting unveiling or Thangka sunning that you can experience during the festival time will bridge the spaces between yesterday and today.
 
The unique Tibetan festival tours will give you enlightenment to understand better on spirit and real world. Contact us directly to embark on the journey to heaven on the earth to unveil the mysterious Tibetan history that has been written on sutra streamers, Mani stone mounds and Tibetan culture tradition for thousand years.
 
Tibetan New Year Festival - Losar Date in Tibet: Feb. 27, 2017Tibetan New Year Festival Losar in Tibet
Similar to Christmas, on last few days of Tibetan calendar every year, a series of celebrations will begin, including a family reunion, eating "Gutu" (a kind of dough drops), snatching auspicious water and burning aromatic plants, as well as New Year visits. Sports such as horse racing and tug-of-war will also join in the cerebrations, which will not end until the 15th day of the first month. Tibetan New Year also called Losar, is one of the most ceremonious traditional festival in Tibet, which usually falls on January 01 of Tibetan calendar in Tibet autonomous region, while other Tibetan people in Kham and Amdo might celebrate the Losar festival on different dates.
 
In the morning of New Year day people would make new year visits or exchange new year greetings to each other, with "Chemar" boxes, and highland barley wine in their hands. Chemar is a fine box containing Zanba - roasted highland barley flour and being decorated by butter sculptures and multicolor dyed highland barley grains, which is an important auspicious Tibetan decoration to pray for good harvests in the Tibetan New Year. "Degar" is a kind of multi-layered offering made of fried dough of different shapes, which is the most important tribute of Tibetan New Year and will be centered on the top of Tibetan styled cabinet. Unique butter sculptures "Tsedrup" depict various traditional Tibetan auspicious motifs such as monkeys, deer, elephants, fishes, sun, moon and lotus. Every year on the Jan. 5th of Tibetan calendar, Tibetan farmers would hold up pray flags, drive their farm cattle, plough five row of fields, planting five kinds of seeds in each of which, and gather together drinking and singing.
 
Butter Lamp Festival - Chotrul Duchen Date in Lhasa: Mar. 12, 2017Chonga Choepa Lhasa Butter Lantern Festival in Jokhang
Also called Chonga Choepa or Chötrul Düchen, The Butter Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first Tibetan month. During the daytime, people go to pray in temples and monasteries while at night there is a lantern show. Various lanterns with butter sculptures shaped in the image of deities, animals, plants, and human figures are displayed, attracting people from the neighboring areas to appreciate them. Often, there is puppet show held as well and the event will last for several days. The Butter Lantern Festival is believed to be the happiest festival in Tibet. The noisest place during that time is the around the Barkhor Street in front of Jokhang Temple, where many lanterns are displayed. In Lhasa, Tibetan people would rush to the famous Jokhang Monastery at the dawn of New Year day, to light butter lamps, take ritual walks around the Barkhor Street and recite the six-syllable prayer "Om Mani Pad-me Hum".
 
Tsurphu Buddha Painting Unfolding Festival Cham Dance: June 05Cham Dancing of Tsurphu Thangka Festival , 2017
Thangka unfolding and cham dance are the main activities of the festival in Tsurphu Monastery. Local Tibetan Buddhist band performs during a Cham dance ritual held to celebrate the festival in Doilungdeqen County of Lhasa. The Cham dance is a ritual performed by Tibetan Buddhist monks to exorcise evil spirits. The dancers wear masks of various animals and mythical figures as they perform to the accompaniment of religious music. Lamas unfold the huge Thangka, a painting on silk with embroidery in Tsurphu Monastery. The festival attracts many believers to the monastery to pray, get blessed and appreciate the big and vividly woven thangka. Tsurphu Monastery is the most important monastery of the Karma Kagyu lineage, which is probably the largest and certainly the most widely practiced lineage within the Kagyu school, a major base of the Kagyu school in Tibetan Buddhism.
 
Saga Dawa Festival - Full Moon of Kailash Manasarovar: June 09, 2017Saga Dawa Festival of Kailash Darchen Tarboche Flagpole Ceremony
Saka Dawa Festival is observed on the April 15th of the Tibetan calendar. Saga Dawa is the birthday of Sakyamuni, the Great Buddha, and the day he died and became a Buddha, which occurs on the full moon day of the 4th Tibetan month, is celebrated by Tibetan people to commemorate Sakyamuni's birth, enlightenment and death. Tibetan People pray in front of the figure of Buddha at Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, while celebrating the peak day of the Sakadawa Festival.
 
Mt. Kailash is one of the four most famous sacred mountains for Tibetans, the other three being Meili Snow Mountain, Mount Anyemaqen and Mount Gaduojuewo. Kailash is an Indian word and Tibetans used to call it Kangrenpoche which means the "precious jewel of snow". Duing hot summer, the snow on the surrounding mountains melts out, except the Mt. Kailash that is covered with snow for the whole year. It is believed that Godess White Tara had first initiated the circumambulating circuit for the local Tibetan people because nobody at that time knew the circuit. That's why there is a pass with an altitude of 5,630 meters called Dolma-la pass which was termed after the Godess Tara - Dolma in Tibetan. The mountain is sometimes called 'Mother of Iceberg'. It appears to be gazing at another mountain, Namcha Barwa, or 'Father of Iceberg' in the far distance.
 
The splendid day of a year in Ngari is Saga Dawa, a particularly popular time to visit holy mountain Kailash as Tibetan from every parts of Tibet gather there to circumambulate around Mt. Kailash. According to the sayings of Buddhism, one circle around the mountain can atone for all the sins committed throughout one's lifetime. Tibetan people believe that the more times they circle around the Mt. Kailash earns more merits in life.
 
Lhasa Shoton Festival - Buddha Sunning Date in Drepung: Aug. 21Shoton Yoghurt Festival of Lhasa Drepung Monastery, 2017
It is one of the major festivals in Tibet, also known as the Tibetan Opera or Yoghurt 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. This rule must be carried out till the seventh lunar month. Then Buddhists go outdoors, 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.
 

Other Tibetan Monastic & Nomadic Festivals 2017

Tongren Tibetan New Year - Repkong Losar: Feb. 01-Feb. 16, 2017
 
Aba-Ngawa Tibetan New Year: Feb. 09-Feb. 12, 2017
 
Labrang Losar & Taktsang Lhamo Monlam: Feb. 09-12, 2017
 
Great Prayer Festival - Monlam: Mar. 04, 2017
 
Ta'er Monastery-Kumbum Festival: May 09-10 & June 30-July 01, 2017
 
Drikung-Til Festival-Cham Dance: June 18, 2017
 
Tashilhunpo Thangka Unveiling Festival: July 08, 2017
 
Tongren Repkong Shaman Festival: July 15-July 18, 2017
 
Samye Monastic Festival - Zamling Chisang: July 09, 2017
 
Yushu Jyekundo Horse Race Festival: July 25-July 28, 2017
 
Gyantse Horse Racing Festival: July 20, 2017
Horse race and archery are generally popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Presently, ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.
 
Choekor Duechen (Tukbe Tsehi) - Buddha's Sermon Festival : July 27
Held in Lhasa to celebrate Buddha's first sermon at Sarnath near Varanasi.
 
Ganden Monastic Festival - Thangka Unveiling Celebration: Aug. 01, 2017
 
Pelyul Katok Dorjeden Monastery Nyingmapa Cham Festival: July 25-28
 
Litang Horse Race Festival: Aug. 1-Aug. 5, 2017
 
Changtang Nagchu Horse Racing Festival: August 1-Aug. 5, 2017
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 colorful 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.
 
Drepung Monastic Festival: Sep. 02
 
Drak Yerpa Hermitage Festival: Sep. 04
 
Bathing Festival - Karma Dunba: Aug. 19, 2017
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.
 
Lhasa Lhabab Duchen: Nov. 11, 2017
The festival commemorates Buddha's descent from heaven.
 
Palden Lhamo Festival: Dec. 3, 2017
 
Ganden Ngachen Chemo: Jan. 23, 2018


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