Tibet is probably one of the most culture-oriented places not only in China, but also around the world. Every year, Tibet celebrates countless festivals. For a tourist interested in Tibet travel, these occasions are definitely a must-witness. Unlike the typical days in Tibet, festivals, as in any other places, are more or less the only occasions where rare, special kinds of traditions and rituals are commemorated. Here are the top 5 Tibetan festivals to add to your list of Tibet information.
1. Tibetan New Year
Tibetan New Year is the major and most important festival in Tibet. Although it lasts for 15 days, Tibetan New Year is mainly celebrated on the first 3 days. It is celebrated in the late days of January, but on the Tibetan calendar, it falls on February. The most traditional activities during the Tibetan New Year are the chanting and passing of torches.
2. Shoton Festival
The Shoton Festival is the second most important festival in Tibet next to the Tibetan New Year. The festival starts on the 30th day of the 6th month in Tibetan calendar. During the festival, giant Thangkas are unveiled in the Drepung Monastery. Tibetan operas take place in Norbulingka.
3. Prayer Meeting Festival
The Prayer Meeting Festival falls on the 4th to 11th day of the 1st month in the Tibetan calendar. During this festival, thousands of monks gather for chants, prayers, rituals, and examinations for Geshe, Buddhist theology’s highest degree. This is basically the best time for Tibet trekking. You’ll come across more local people along the streets than usual. Asking about random Tibet information is a good way to start a conversation with Tibetans.
4. The Butter Lamp Festival
This festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan calendar. Tsong Khapa, a famous Tibetan Buddhism teacher, established the event for the celebration of Buddha’s victory in a debate. During the evening festival, a variety of Tsampa sculptures and giant butter sculptures are displayed along the Barkhor. The festive night is filled with singing and dancing throughout the event.
5. The Saga Dawa Festival
The Saga Dawa Festival is believed to be the day when Sakyamuni Buddha was born and attained nirvana. During this day, Tibetans don’t eat meat. There are no animals allowed to be slaughtered throughout the month in all places of Tibet.
During your Tibet Travel and Tibet trekking, different information on Tibet is a necessity for a much safer and more enjoyable travel experience. For more information on Tibet, it’s ideal to read travel pocketbooks and study the Tibetan map on your trip.