Tibet is as much of a cultural tour as it is a scenic one. So, make sure you catch some of the festivals here to experience Tibet truly. The following are the most important Tibetan celebrations:
1. Tibetan New Year: December 28-29 on Tibetan Calendar-This is the most important celebration in the Tibetan calendar. Most regions celebrate the festival differently. However, you can catch the best at Lhasa, and the festivities are grand and colorful.
2. Butter Lantern Festival: January 15 on Tibetan Calendar- It marks to end of the Tibetan New Year celebrations. On this day, people go to temples to burn butter lantern and incense as worship offering to the Buddha.
3. SagarDawa Festival: April, around 15th on Tibetan Calendar- SagarDawa represents the month of April in Tibetan Calendar, Buddhists believe that Sakyamuni was born, became Buddha and died in this month. This festival is held in and around Lhasa to worship the Buddha.
4. Shoton Festival of Lhasa: 30th day of the 6th month on Tibetan Calendar (usually in the latter half of August)- In Tibetan, ‘Shoton’ means ‘’sour milk Banquet.’’ Also known as ‘’Tibetan opera Festival’’, the festival hosts Buddha paintings exhibitions and Tibetan opera performances. You can also enjoy horsemanship displays and yak racing.
5. Bathing Festival: The first ten days of July on Tibetan Calendar- Known as ‘’Gamariji’’ (planet Venus) in Tibetan, people bath in lakes and rivers believing they possess beneficial properties during the time of Venus rising in the sky.
6. Ongkor Festival- August-it is traditional Tibetan harvest festival held in Tibet’s farming areas each year in August, as per Tibetan Calendar.
7. Horse Racing Fair and Archery Festival: Between June and July on Tibetan Calendar-Horse Racing and Archery fairs are held in the plains of Tibet, these festivals are unique and conducted between June and July according to the Tibetan Calendar because those are the months when pastures and green and cows and horses are strong and stout. Horse racing occurs every year, but the excessively large events happen only once every three years. These events can last several days; the longest ones can last up to ten days or more.