Calendar of Major Tibetan Festivals and Holidays

Calendar of Major Tibetan Festivals and Holidays

Tibet Regions

Tibet areas are normally means to Tibet autonomous region, Amdo and Kham Tibet regions in Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces today. Please take a glance at the time-honored Tibetan festivals. A recommended Tibetan festival tour is always pretty much interesting for those who plan to travel in Tibet. Below we list the major traditional Tibetan festivals to help you better plan your Tibet Tour.

Year 2016

Tibetan New Year

All Tibetan areas

The largest Tibetan festival, celebrated by all Tibetan regions. Losar starts on the 1st day of the 1st month of the Tibetan Calendar, and lasts 3 to 15 days. On the eve of New Year’s Eve, the 29th day of the 12th month, Tibetans eat guthuk with their families. Inviting all good, auspicious things into our homes and our lives.

Feb. 8

The Monlam Prayer Festival

Central Tibet/Amdo

Monks perform traditional Tibetan Buddhist dances during Monlam Prayer Festival, and cakes are made with butter sculptures.

Feb. 9

The Butter Lamp Festival

Lhasa/ Amdo

People sing and dance throughout the night, and thousands of lights are kept burning until dawn.

Mar. 5

The Thangka Unveiling at Tashilunpo

Tashilunpo Monastery

The big Thangka with a Buddha image on it is unfolded, and the people all gather in front of the Thangka to pray.

July 17

Zamling Chisang

Lhasa/ Amdo

Universal Prayer Day. In Tibet, on the 15th day of the fifth month in the Tibetan calendar, Tibetans go to the tops of local mountains to burn incense and hang prayer flags.

July 19

Saga Dawa

All in Tibet

A full month, the 4th month of the Tibetan calendar—honoring Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. One’s deeds are considered multiplied during this time, so Tibetans often give alms to beggars and refrain from eating meat.

May 21

The Gyantse Horse Race Festival


This festival is held in Gyantse, a county southwest of Lhasa with horse racing, Tibetan opera, ball games, etc.

July 18

Choekor Duechen


Honoring the day that the Buddha Shakyamuni first tought the four noble truths in Sarnath, India, and first turned the wheel of the dharma. Also called drukpa tse shi, which means the 4th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar.

August 6

The Ganden Thangka Showing

Ganden Monastery

A big Thangka with a Buddha image on it is unveiled at Ganden Monastery.

August 18

Samye Dolde

Samye Monastery

Monks wear festival clothes and masks, and dance to drive away bad things and devils.

July 19

The Nagqu Horse Race Festival


An important event in northern Tibet, everyone dresses in their finest and most colorful clothing.



The Labrang Festival


Monks have a debate on Buddhist scriptures and ritual dancing will be performed.

Aug. 7

Shoton (Yogurt) Festival


Especially famous at Dreppung monastery in Lhasa, where a huge Thangkha is displayed on the hill next to the monastery and thousands gather to see it and pray

Sept 1-7

Karma Dunba (The Bathing Festival)


Tibetans take a bath together in the river to drive away illness.

Aug. 3-13

Kumbum Monastery Festival


Prayers, thangkha unveiling, monks’ mask dance. This is also Amitabha Buddha, meditation, recitation of sutras and taking Eight Mahayana Precepts.

May 23

Rebkong Shaman Festival


Ritual demon exorcism, village Shamen dancing performance and Tibetan traditional dress show.

July 19

-July 27