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Tibet Festivals

Tibetan Holidays and Celebrations

One thing worth your expecting in Tibet travel is their colorful festivals in this area. Tibet festivals is the best way to show the unique culture of this mysterious highland.

The New Year Festival (Losar): It is the greatest festival in Tibet, which lasts for 2 weeks during December and January according to the lunar calendar. Just before New Year's Eve, families clean their homes and paint religious symbols on their doors or in their homes. On New Years Eve, Tibetans gather for a big dinner. Besides the usual lamb or beef dishes, they make a barely flour dish and wrap with different things (i.e.-rock, coin, etc.) inside for a good luck in the coming year. After dinner, they continue dancing and using fire torches to drive away bad spirits.

The Great Prayer Festival (Monlam): It is the grandest religious festival in the year, which is held from January 4 to 11 on the Tibetan calendar. An image of maitreya from the Jokhang is borne around the Barkhor, attracting enthusiastic crowds of locals and pilgrims. The highlight of the festival is the "Sunning of the Buddha" ceremony, during which a thangka of Buddha measuring 30 meters by 20 meters is unfurled on a hillside. The festival is accompanied by lively drama performances, dances, and prayer assemblies.

The Butter Lantern Festival: It's the last day of the Great Prayer Festival, which is celebrated on January 15 after New Year festival ends to honor the victory of Sakyamuni in a debate against Heretics. People usually light thousands of lamps filled with butter in an intriguing assortment of designs including immortals, animals, flying birds, beasts, and flowers. The whole festive will last all night. People sing and dance in great joy throughout the night.

The Shoton Festival (Yoghurt): It begins on the 30th day of the 6th Tibetan month, which begins with a painting exhibition at the Drepung Monastery. Subsequently, sour milk (shoton) is offered to the monks. Tibetan operas are also performed during the festival at parks such as Norbulingka.

The Bathing Festival: It starts at the beginning of July and lasts one week. It is believed that 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 in the sky, Tibetans stay along the water banks for the week taking frequent baths.

The Horse Race Festival: It occurs during the month of June, which is in fact, a horse-racing event. It will take place throughout Tibet during this period and includes various activities: archery contests and tug-of-war matches, in addition to the races.

The Bumper Harvest Festival (Ongkor): It takes place in each August, which was originally established to bless one's harvest crop. People get together for such games as shooting contests, wrestling matches, and horse racing. As usual, singing and dancing add to each day's events.

Besides the traditional festivals listed above, there are still numerous festivals in different areas of Tibet, such as: the Circum-ambulation to Mt. Kailash Festival in Ngari, the Damshung Horse-Racing Festival in Nagqu, the Yarlung Cultural Festival in Lhokha, etc., which are also an integral part of the Tibetan culture.

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Tibet Group Tour

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