In Tibet, there are many great festivals held every year. If you want to know the real Tibet culture and customs, you should not miss joining in a Tibet tour during Tibetan festival held.You’ll feel amazing at the boisterous atmosphere and Buddhist activities of Tibet festivals. Here below will show you the introductions about important Tibetan festivals in Tibet.
1 Tibet New Year (Losar)
The Tibetan New Year, known as Losar, is a three-day festival that incorporates sacred and secular practices – prayer, ceremonies, hanging prayer flags, sacred folk dances, and parties. It is the most important local festival in all Tibetan festivals, representing the time in which everything is purified and renewed. As Tibetans follow the lunar calendar, the date of Losar is changing every year. It held on February 27 in 2017, February 17 in 2018, and February 5 in 2019, while sometimes falls on the same as the Chinese New Year, but not always so.
People get up early in the morning on the New Year’s Day, take a bath before wearing new clothes, and then sacrifice at the altar of the family, began the family prayer ceremony. These offerings are very interesting which are the animals and demons made from a kind of dough called Torma. The third day of the Tibetan New Year is for visiting local monasteries and hanging a new prayer banner on the roof or hilltop. When Tibetans hang up new prayer flags, they will also splash tsampa in the air for peace and happiness in the New Year.
2 Nagqu Horse Racing Festival
The Nagqu Horse Racing Festival, a grandest horse riding competition in northern Tibet, held in every August with duration of 5 to 15 days. The Horse Racing Festival is more important than the Tibetan New Year according to the herdsmen in Northern Tibet. On the day of the opening ceremony, Tens of thousands of Tibetan pour into the festival grounds which dotted with tents to celebrate the horse riding competition. After the opening ceremony, different sorts of activities will hold including horse race, yak race, tug of war, lifting stones and performs Tibetan operas.
When the horse begins, the devout horsemen will circle around the giant incense-burn, accept the blessing of the lamas. The audience on both sides of the racing field will also cheer for the horsemen. The horse which takes the crown of the Nagqu Horse Racing Festival will be popular in Northern Tibet. In addition, the headstream of Nu River and Yangtze River located here, tourists can enjoy the charming natural landscape after horse racing festival.
3 Saga Dawa Festival
Saga Dawa Festival which holds of the 4th month in Tibetan calendar is the most important annual festival in Tibet. According to the Buddhist literary, Saga Dawa festival is celebrated to highlight the day when Sakyamuni Buddha attained the enlightenment. Tens of thousands of Tibetans from different parts of Tibet will pour into Lhasa city for praying and circumambulating of Potala palace and Bharkor Street, the Kora or yatra.
During the festival, Prayer flags will replace the giant flagpole at Tarpoche. The monks of the monastery will perform a special ritual when the pole’s tip is raised and pointed east toward Gyangdrak monastery. Music from long trumpets, conch shells, and other instruments welcome the rising flagpole. Tibetans believe that it would award many merits during that particular day by giving generosity, stopping killing animals and eating meats.
4 Shoton Festival (Yogurt festival)
Shoton Festival held annually in the month of August or 30th of the 6th month of Tibetan lunar calendar. On that day, Drepung and Sera monasteries will be the two locations that to hold the main ceremony of Thangka unfolding. For Buddhists, this holy ceremony is a purification of the spirit and the soul. Traditionally, monks are required to remain sequestered in their monasteries for the ascetic practice of Buddhism. Local people will offer yogurt to lamas is becoming an activity during the Shoton Festival.
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