Butter Oil Lantern Festival (February or
This festival is held on the 15th of the first
lunar month. Huge yak-butter sculptures are
placed around Lhasa's Barkhor circuit.
Saga Dawa Festival (May or June)
Saga Dawa is the holiest Festival in Tibet
celebrating Buddha's birth and Buddha's
enlightenment. Almost everyone in Lhasa joins
in circumambulations ("Koras") around the
Jokhang, around the Potala and around the city
itself. People tend to spend their late
afternoon having a picnic at the "Dzongyab
Lukhang" park behind the Potala Palace.
Gyantse Horse Race & Archery (May or June)
races and archery are generally popular in
Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys the prestige of
being the earliest city in Tibetan history to
hold a festival for them beginning in 1408.
Contests in early times included horse races,
archery, and shooting while galloping,
followed by a few days' entertainment or
picnicking. These days, ball games, track and
field events, folk songs, dances, bartering
and trade opportunities take place in addition
to the above.
Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival
are many horse racing festivals in Tibet, but
the one in Nagqu in 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. In addition to
horse racing, various exciting programs are
held, such as yak racing, archery,
horsemanship and a commodity fair.
Shoton (Yogurt) Festival (August)
Shoton or Yogurt Festival is also known as the
Tibetan Opera Festival. Tsongkhapa, the
founder of the Gelugpa
Sect of Buddhism, set the rule that Buddhists
can cultivate themselves only indoors during
the Summer to avoid killing other creatures
carelessly. Living things are most active in
the Summer. This rule must be carried out
until the seventh lunar month. Then Buddhists
go outdoors, accept the yoghurt served by
local people, and have fun. At the middle of
17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama added opera
performance to this festival. Famous Tibetan
opera troupes perform in the Norbulingka (the
Dalai Lama's Summer Palace).
Bathing Festival (September)
It is believed when the sacred planet Venus
appears in the sky, that the water in the
river becomes the most pure 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.
Kungbu Traditional Festival (November or
Long, long ago, when Tibet was in danger of a
large scale invasion, the Kongpo people sent
out an army to defend their homeland. It was
in September and the soldiers worried that
they might miss the New Year's celebrations,
highland barley wine and other delicacies. So,
the Tibetan New Year was celebrated on October
1st, ahead of time. To memorialize those brave
soldiers, from that time onwards, Kongpo
people have presented three sacrifices and
stayed up at night. This has now become the
Kongpo Festival and features such
entertainment as Kongpo dancing, horse racing,
archery and shooting.
Harvest Festival (September)
The farmers in Lhasa, Gyantse and Lhokha
celebrate their Summer harvest at this time.
People enjoy horse racing games, costume
fashion shows, song and dance, Archery,