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Tibetan Traditional New Year

Time: 16-09-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

The most celebrated festival in Tibet is Tibet traditional New Year. As December of Tibet calendar starts, Tibetan begins busy with new year’s preparation. In every family, they grow sprout of qingke barley and put it before Buddha statue for celebrating a harvest new year in advance. When it comes to the middle of December, Tibetan families use butter and flour to fly kase, a kind of refreshment. With the upcoming year end, every family will prepare a bumper grain harvest called zusu qiema in Tibetan. Zanba mixed with butter, fried qingke barely grain and monorchid heminium herb are used to fill the zusu qiema in which qingke barely spikes are plugged. A colored sculpture of sheep head made of butter (named as luoguo in Tibetan) is also prepared. Qiema and luoguo both symbolize a happy, harvest and prosperous new year. Two days prior to New Year’s Eve, they clean houses, put on new kadian (small carpet, a dispensable necessity in Tibet family. It is used as mattress, cushion, saddle pad, etc.) and gum new year’s paintings on the wall.

Tibetan Traditional New Year
Tibetan Traditional New Year

On December, 29, people clean their kitchens and spray flour to the wall in the middle. In the evening, every family member from the young to od makes padu (made of the fur) together. As it gets dark, all family members sit in the order of the old priority and eat podu together. It is called gutu in Tibetan which originated from the custom of dispelling evils and the ritual is held. Gu in Tibetan means mine (symbolizes twenty-nine here), tu, namely means tuba. It is necessary to make two sorts of padu in the ritual. The first sort is shaped as its symbols, for instance, sun symbolizes wealthy, prestigious, honorable and scripture wise, knowledgeable while double face drum symbolizes unreliable person, etc. The second sort, partially, has stone, pepper, coal, wool in side, which respectively symbolizes hard, coldblooded, garrulous and soft heart respectively. People who have got any sort of them have to take it out and show to others for joy of the eve. The simple and old ritual is given moral contents, and became a means of education on morality.

On New Year’s Eve, families clean out their residences, put out new kadian, lay-up kase (deep fried food) with four to five layers and place fruits, butter, brick tea, salt block, etc. In front of the niches of Buddha. Outside of the house gate, a pattern of bkra-shis-rtags-brgyad is painted in plaster powder. Every household boils guandie (a heated qinke barely wine with brown sugars, powdered cheese, zanba inside) for next morning. On New Year’s Day, all families rose before dawn, dressed up in attires, wearing the finest ornaments and light butter lumps for all deities, then are seated in orders. Firstly, family members together drink the first cup of butter tea, then the juniors rise up and carry Qiema and qingke barely wine to the seniors and present hadas to them with blessings of all the best. After that, they sit down and all persons drink hot qingke barely wine together, eat cornmeal and monorchid heminium herb boiled with butter.

Tibetan Traditional New Year
Tibetan Traditional New Year

When family new year’s ceremony ends, they begin to celebrate with neighbours. Young men and women of every family carry Zusu Qiema, bringing qingke barely wine pot and chant wishing all the best and happiness, also wishing a stout household and health and hope to celebrate the next new year together when arriving at the door of a family. They offer Qiema and qingke barely wine then the host will treat them with tea, wine and so on. In general, on the first day of new year, family members gather together to celebrate the festival and not to visit others. From the second day of new year festival, people begin to visit relatives and friends for celebration. In urban and rural areas, people will perform Tibetan opera, dance in Guozhuang and Xian zi. In husbandry areas, herds men will enjoy dancing and singing all day time and night. During the festival, there is a series of recreation activities in folk, such as, wrestling, casting, tug of war, horse racing and archery.

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user portrait Mr. Si*** from: 8 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Himalayan Panoramic Tour


I would be interrested to join a Lhasa to Kathmandu tour in November (26th novembre). Do you have other tourists on this tour and what would be the price of it for one or two person?

Thank you.


Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Si***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have one departure date on 26th November for Lhasa to Kathmandu group tour, but there is no person joining in at present. If you are two persons together, we are able to open this tour for you. If you are only one person, here we suggest that you can join our 8 days Tibet Mt. Everest group tour, the major scenic spots of this tour are almost the same as the Lhasa to Kathmandu tour, the difference is that you need to get back to Lhasa and fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Best regards.

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