Tibet Festivals & Calendar 2024

19 June 2024 Last updated at 11:37

Want to know more about Tibetan culture? Then, take a glance at the time-honored Tibetan festivals. Tibetan festivals are the foundation of Tibetan folk culture, a witness of the splendid history of Tibet and the creativity of Tibetan people.

Tibetans celebrate festivals almost every month, and there might be several in a single month. Joining one would definitely make your Tibet trip sparkle! Below we list the major traditional Tibetan festivals to help you better plan your Tibet Culture & Festivals tour.

Tibet Festivals Calendar 2024

Date on Solar Calendar 2024 Venue
Tibetan New Year (Losar)
Feb. 10
Great Prayer Festival (Monlam)
Feb. 13 ~ Mar. 5
Butter Lamp Festival
Feb. 24
Nyingchi Peach Flower Festival
late March
Saga Dawa Festival
May 23
The Thangka Unveiling at Tashilunpo
Jun. 20 ~ Jun. 22
Universal Prayers Festival (Zamling Chisang)
Jun. 21
Lhasa, Chamdo, Samye
Gyantse Horse Race Festival
May 18 ~ Jun. 5
Ganden Thangka Unveiling Festival
Ganden Monastery
Nagqu Horse Racing Festival
Sept. 3
Shoton Festival
Aug. 4
Bathing Festival (Karma Dunba)
Aug. 10 ~ Aug. 16
Buddha's Descent Day (Lhabab Duchen)
Nov. 21
Palden Lhamo Festival
(Fairy Festival)
Dec. 15

Most Popular Tibet Festivals

New Year Festival

Date: 1st of the first lunar month (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Whole Tibet

Activites: Ghost Exorcising Festival, Tibetan Opera Performance

Duration: about 15 days

Tibetan New Year Festival is the most significant festival in Tibet.Tibetan people begin to celebrate on 29th December and the festival lasts for about 2 weeks, with the main celebrations on the first 3 days. The Tibetan people will wear their new clothes, and hold several activities to farewell to the past year and welcome the coming new year.

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Shoton Festival

Shoton Festival

Date: 30th June (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Lhasa and some other areas

Activites: Huge Thangka of Buddha Exhibitation, Tibetan Opera Performance, Yogurt Banquet

Duration: about 1 week

Shoton Festival is one of the most tradtional festivals in Tibet. In old times, monks are required to remain sequestered in their monasteries for the ascetic practice of Bbuddhism, and the local people rushed there to give them sour milk and preform dancing for them. In this way, the Shoton Festival was formed.

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Horse Racing Festival

Date: between June and July (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Nagqu

Activites: Horse Racing, Horsemanship, Trade Fair

Duration: over 10 days

Tibetan Horse Racing Festival takes place when when the pasture is lush and horses and cows are stout and strong. Dressing themselves and their finest horses, hundreds of herdsmen take part in thrilling horse racing, archery and horsemanship contests. Nowadays, the scale becomes larger and the forms diversified and contents more colorful. It has become a grand ceremony to boost economy.

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Nyingchi Peach Flower Festival

Peach Blossom Festival

Date: late March

Venue: Nyingchi

Activites: Watching Peach Blossom

Duration: more than 1 month

Nyingchi is full of different kinds of plants – wild forests, different kinds of flowers, etc. When the Spring comes, Nyingchi becomes a sea of peach flowers. It must be a breathtaking beaty that the pink flowers are in full blossm under the foot of snow-covered mountains. If you a are shutterbug or fan of Mother Nature, visit Nyingchi during the Peach Blossom Festival.

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Butter Lamp Festival

Butter Lamp Festival

Date: January 15 (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Lhasa and other Tibetan Areas

Duration: 1 day

Butter Lamp takes place on 15th January according to Tibetan Calendar. On this day, people go to temples to burn incense to worship Buddhas. As darkness falls, they will put up many stands to display the butter lamps they made themselves. The lamps are in forms of gods, figures, flowers and trees, birds and beasts, and can be burnt.

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Saga Dawa Festival

Saga Dawa Festival

Date: 15th April (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Lhasa and surrounding

Activites: Worshipping

Duration: about 1 month

April 15 on Tibetan Calendar is believed to be the time when Sakyamuni was born, stepped into Buddhahood, and attained nirvana.The biggest ritual is to worship Buddha and circumambulate in the inner, middle and outer parts of Lhasa.Sutra chanting, prayer turning, Cham dancing and other religious activities dominate the festival.

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Ongkor Festival

Ongkor Festival

Date: around August (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Tibet Farms

Activites: Horse Racing, Shooting, Singing and Dancing

Duration: 1 day

"Ongkor" in Tibetan means "surrounding the farmland". Major activities include horse racing, shooting, singing and dancing, Tibetan Opera, stone holding and wrestling. The "Ongkor" not only shows people's wish for a good harvest, but also a good time for them to rest. Since crops ripen in different times, the festival is held accordingly.

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Bathing Festival

Bathing Festival

Date: 16th July (Tibetan Calendar)

Venue: Whole Tibet

Activites: Bathing in hot spring

Duration: 1 week

Bathing Festival usually falls in July according to Tibetan calendar. Lasting a week, it is also known as the Bathing Week. In Tibetan it is called "Gamariji," meaning Venus. As the star rises to the sky, the mass bathing starts. As the star sets, the bathing ends. Legend goes that bathing at this period is beneficial to health.

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