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Monk Dance During Monlam FestivalIf possible, try to time your visit to Lhasa with one of the city's festivals. Pilgrims often flock to Lhasa at these times and the city takes on a colorful party atmosphere. The following Tibetan festivals are calculated according to the lunar calendar. Check before for the precise dates.

Tibetan New Year (March 3)

This is the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient times, when the peach trees were in blossom, it was considered the start of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 AD, the first day of the first month was fixed as the New Year. On the New Year's Day, families unite, an "auspicious dipper" is offered, and the auspicious words "tashi delek" are greeted.

Butter Oil Lantern Festival (March 18)

The last day of the Great Prayer Festival is celebrated as Butter oil lantern festival. In order to commemorate Sakyamuni's victory over non-Buddhist opponents, the Lord of Neu Dzong, a noted patron of Tsongkapa, illuminated numerous butter-lamps in 1409. Monk Artists at a Saga Festival

Saga Dawa Festival (June 14)

Gods in heaven are believed to descend to the mortal world on this day. Incense sticks are lit in large numbers, and families go out in public parks for picnicking. The day is also known as the Worlds Incense Day.

Horse Racing Festival, Gyantse (20 to 27 July)

Horse race and archery are extremely popular in Tibet. And Gyantse enjoys the prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse races, archery, and shooting on galloping horseback followed by a few days of entertainment and picnicking. Ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, and barter trade are additional attractions to the above.

Yalong Cultural Festival (July 25)

Yarlong culture is an important part not only of Tibetan culture but also of the world's. The festival is a combination of both art and economy, which displays the old brilliance and the new expectations at the same time. There are colorful activities like national sports contests, singing, dancing, Tibetan opera, ethnic costume shows and trade fairs. Dance Performers at Shoton Festival

Shoton Festival (August 27, September 3)

The Opera Festival is one of the greatest festivals in Tibet. In ancient times, pious folks went into mountain hermitages to do penance. On the last day of the festival, yogurt is served as meal followed by folk song and dance entertainment.

Ganden Festival

On the 15th day of the 6th Tibetan month, 25 precious articles belonging to ganden monastery, which are normally locked in their treasure house, are displayed in the main shrine hall. A grand offering ceremony accompanies the display. These articles consist of the images of the sixteen arhats, akshobhya, the secret assembly, the four great kings, the upasaka and hashang image.

Harvest Festival (September)

The farmers in Lhasa, gyantse and shangnan to celebrating their bumeer harvest in this time. During that time, people enjoy with horse racing games, costume fashion show, songs and dance archery and picnic etc.

Bathing Week

It is believed when the sacred planet Venus appears in the sky, the water in the river becomes purest and cure diseases. During its appearance for one week in the sky, all the people in Tibet go into the river for bathing.


Fairs & Festivals 2007 2008 2009
Tibetan New Year March 3 Feb 7 -
The Great Prayer Festival (Monlam) Feb 22 - Mar 1 - -
Butter Oil Lantern Festival March 18 March 26 -
Saga Dawa Festival June 14 Jun 18 -
Buddha Unfolding Festival June June June
Chubacexi Festival July 2 - -
Horse Racing Festival, Gyantse 20/27July (one week) June June
Yalong Cultural Festival July 25 - -
Paying Homage To The Holy Mountain Festival - - -
Universal Prayers Festival Aug-Sep Aug-Sep Aug-Sep
Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival 10 Aug. – 16 Aug. 10 Aug. – 16 Aug. 10 Aug. – 16 Aug.
Shoton Festival August 27, September 3 Aug 30 – Sep 5 August
Bathing Festival - - -
Tsong Khapa Butter Lamp Festival - - -

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