If you just on time or 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.
New year of Tibetan
This is the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient times when the peach tree was in blossom, it was considered as the starting of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 A.D., The first day of the first month became fixed as the new year. On the new year’s the families unite ’auspicious dinner’ is offered and the auspicious words ’tashi delek’ are greeted. It is the most colorful festival of Lhasa and all Tibetan people..
Monlam (great prayer festival of Lhasa)
Known also as the great prayer festival, this is held midway through the first lunar month. An image of maitreya from the jokhang is borne around the barkhor, attracting enthusiastic crowds of locals and pilgrims.
Saga dawa festival (May or June)
It is the holiest in Tibet, there memorable occasions coincide on this day, buddha’s birth and buddha’s enlightenment. Almost every person within Lhasa join in circumambulations round the city and spend their late afternoon on picnic at ’dzongyab lukahng’ park at the foot of potala.
Gyantse horse race & archery (May or June)
Horse race and archery are generally popular in Tibet, and gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days’ entertainment or picnicking. Presently ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.
Changtang chachen horse race festival - (10 august)
As the most important festival in north Tibet during the golden season on the grassland, thousand of herdsmen throng to nakchu riding fine horses, and carrying the local products. They form as city of tens south of nakchu town. There will be thrilling horse race, archery and demonstrations of horsemanship. Songs and dance troupes from all part of Tibet will add to the fun.
Shoton festival (august)
It is the opera festival and the greatest festivals in Tibet. In ancient times pious folks went into mountain hermitages of which yoghurt was served for meal followed by entertainment of folk songs and dances. Since 7th century, opera performances were held for days in norbu lingka. Presently, opera contests and distribution of prizes are held for seven days.
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.
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.