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Major Tibet Festivals that Cannot Afford to Miss

Time: 22-08-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

Tibetan Buddhism has a history of over 1300 years in Tibet, and has integrated into all aspects of Tibetan lives. Tibetan Buddhism exerted great influence on Tibetan festivals and endowed them with rich religious characters, and some of them even evolved completely into religious festivals. Probably because of the harsh natural environment, or because of all kinds of burdensome works, Tibetan people living on the snow-covered plateau pray for Heaven’s love and Buddha’s protection. Festivals offer them an occasion to pray to Heaven, Buddha and the Nature.

The Tibetan ethnic group has a lot of festivals. There is a festival almost in each month according to Tibetan calendar. In the festive environment of festivals, people enjoy themselves while pleasing the gods. Please read the following passage to have a look at the Tibetan festivals that should not be missed.

Part 1. Tibet Festivals in Spring
Part 2. Tibet Festivals in Summer
Part 3. Tibet Festivals in Autumn
Part 4. Tibet Festivals in Winter

Part 1. Tibet Festivals in Spring

Spring marks the beginning of the tourism season in Tibet, and it is also one of the best periods of time to visit Tibet. With the elapsing of cold winter, the temperature in Tibet starts to go up and the weather becomes friendly to tourists. Here is a list of the main Tibetan festivals in spring, and you could add them to your travel plan.

 Tibet Festival - Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival
Tibet Festival - Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival

Festivals Details Tibetan Lunar Time Calendar Time
Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival The peach blossom blooms all over the mountains of Nyingchi, stretching to the valleys.   March to April
Sakyamuni’s Birthday A large amount of pilgrims visited Lhasa and other sacred places in Tibet. 7th April May

Part 2. Tibet Festivals in Summer

For people afraid of heat, Tibet is a good place to avoid summer heat. The temperature here in summer usually stays below 30 degrees. Tourism in Tibet reaches its peak in summer. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of life, you could choose to enter Tibet in July and August. 

 Tibet Festival - Horse Racing Festival
Tibet Festival - Horse Racing Festival

Festivals Details Tibetan Lunar Time Calendar Time
Saga Dawa Festival It celebrates the day on which Sakyamuni attained satori and arrived at nirvana. A large amount of pilgrims walk across Linkuo street in Lhasa and visit Mount Kailash. Apr 15 May to June
Zhanfo Festival Huge Thangka would hang out there for pilgrims to appreciate. May 14-16 June to July
Zamling Chisang(Linka Festival) People get dressed up and gather in groups heading for the lush and green gardens and grasslands to celebrate the traditional festival. May 15 July
Gyantse Horse Racing Festival It is the traditional Dama Festival of Gyantse people in Shigatse. It means horse racing and archery in Tibetan language.   July
Sho Dun Festival It is one of the grandest festivals of the largest scale and richest contents in summer. Sho Dun means yogurt banquet. 30 Jun August
Nagqu Horse Racing Festival Nagque horse racing festival means “Daqiong” in Tibetan language. It is a grand traditional festival in North Tibet.   August

Part 3. Tibet Festivals in Autumn

When autumn comes, Tibet is dressed up with the clothes of autumn, bright in colour and beautiful in scenery, making it suitable for travelling. There are some traditional Tibetan festivals in autumn that worth exploring.

 Tibet Festival - Wangguo Festival
 Tibet Festival - Wangguo Festival

Festival Details Tibetan Lunar Time Calendar Time
Bathing Festival The melting water from high mountains flows through mountain creeks and hillsides abundant in precious herbs such as “snow lotus”. The active ingredients of these herbs integrate into the crystal clear thawing water, making it the natural bathing water for cleaning, sterilizing and health care. 6-12 July Sept
Wangguo Festival It is the festival for Tibetan peasants to celebrate the harvest. End of July End of Sept
Buddha's Descending Festival All temples of Tibetan Buddhism hold Buddhist activities to welcome Buddha’s descending, promote Dharma and take across sentient beings universally. 22 Sept  Nov

Part 4. Tibet Festivals in Winter

Tibet in winter is the genuine Tibet. Compared with tourism seasons, there is no hustle and bustle in Tibet in winter. Tourists could enjoy the scenery more comfortably and pleasantly. When visiting the lakes, you do not have to wait in line for the best spot for photographing and you do not have to wait for a long time for dinner. In addition, besides Sho Dun Festival in summer, Losar in winter is the most popular festival in Tibet.

 Tibetan Festival - Losar
Tibetan Festival - Losar

Festivals  Details Tibetan Lunar Time Calendar Time
Palden Lhamo Day Females are particularly interested in this festival and call it “Fairy Festival”. They would be dressed up deliberately and burn incense and pray in front of the statue of Palden Lhamo. 15 Oct December
Randeng Festival All temples of the Gelug school and herdsmen would light up the butter lamp for the whole day and night on the altar or in the scripture hall at home. 25 Oct December
Losar It is the grandest festival among Tibetan festivals. On this day people bid farewell to the past year and welcome the new year. 1 Jan Jan or Feb
Monlam Prayer Festival It is one of the important festivals for Gelug school temples of Tibetan Buddhism. Monlam means pray and yearning. Yearning for happiness, peace and health. 4-25 Jan Feb
Butter Lamp Festival In many residences of Tibetan ethnic group, people would display figures of flowers, birds, fish, worms and human beings made of yak butter of five colours to celebrate the Butter Lamp Festival. 15 Jan Feb
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Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. To*** from: What documents are required to travel from Nepal to Tibet?

Hello  I am planning a trip to Katmandu and on to Lhasa and Mt. Kalias. I am  pilgrim. Let me know costs and details I intend to fly or go overload from Katmandu Lhasa etc. Thx.

Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. To***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. Travelling to Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for Chinese Group Visa in Kathmandu. Firstly, we'll apply for visa invitation letter with copy of your passport. Next, we'll send visa invitation letter to you and our partner in Kathmandu. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you need to meet with our partner and give them your original passport, then they will go to Chinese embassy and apply for Chinese Group Visa for you. When you board plane from Kathmandu to Lhasa, they'll only check your passport and Chinese Group Visa. Apart from Chinese Group Visa, you also need Tibet Permit, we'lll apply for Tibet Permit for you in Lhasa, and our guide will pick you up at Lhasa airport with your permit. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Thanks & Regards

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8 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Himalayan Panoramic Tour