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Festivals-in-Tibet
author: admin   source: 驴行神州网   adddate:2009-10-29 
The festivals in Tibet are very important not only for religious purposes, but also for social life and entertainment. Through most are designed to teach illiterate people through dance, theatre and chants about the significance of important happenings or religious lessons, they are a welcomed occasion for people to meet each other.
In Tibet, there are many festivals throughout the year that attract the faithful as well as curious onlookers. Losar (New Year Festival) is a colorful week of activities (February-March), including Tibetan drama, pilgrims making incense offerings and Tibetans dressed in their finest crowding the streets; The Gyantse Horse Racing Festival is a traditional event that takes place in June and features dances, picnics, archery and equestrian events.
*Losar--Tibetan New Year  
Dates: The New Years festival falls on the 25th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar. Celebrated over a week, it is a feast of thanksgiving. The Tibetan New Year‘s festival usually occurs in early February or in March.
Place: Tibet
Activities: At dawn on New Year‘s Day, Tibetans visit monasteries, shrines, and stupas to make offerings. Colorful new prayer flags are hung out over each home and the smell of incense wafts through the villages. Then families venture out to drink the New Year‘s chang (unhopped beer) with friends, to picnic in the parks and meadows, or to watch an archery tourney. There is great merriment and revelry as people thank the gods and pay homage to their ancestors for providing abundant food. The festivities are spread over almost a fortnight. During the first four days of the festival, there are a series of private family feasts.
A large dosmo (propitious pole) is erected and decorated. Numerous other propitious rituals, such as tsamba- throwing (toasted barley or wheat flour) take place.
*Butter Lamp Festival
Dates: This festival takes place on the 15th day of the 1st Tibetan month which happens to be the last day of the Monlam Festival.
Place: Tibet
Activities: Celebrating Buddha‘s Miracle Day with butter lamps and butter sculptures
The Butter Lamp Festival falls on January 15 of the Tibetan calendar, which has its origin in a celebration with many butter lamps to honor the victory of Sakyamuni in a debate against Heretics. During the festive celebration, Barkhor Street in Lhasa is crowded with people and by nightfall is brightly lit with thousands of lamps made of butter in an intriguing assortment of designs.
During the day the Tibetans pay homage to the Buddha by turning prayer wheels in their hands; at night, they light butter-burning lamps and sing and dance to pray for blessings.
*Tashi Lhunpo Festival
Paying Homage to the Holy Mountain Festival
The 4th of the 6th month by Tibetan calendar is a religious festival for the front Tibetan area. It is believed to be the day Sakyamuni first preached a sermon with a prayer wheel. On this day, people go to monasteries and temples to pay their homage to Buddha, to offer joss-sticks and to circumambulate holy mountains; they have picnics and enjoy themselves with singing and dancing in the fields.
*Horse-Racing Festival
Dates: The last 10-day period of August (between the end of the seventh month and the early part of the eighth month of the Tibetan calendar)
Place: Nagqu Qiangtang and Gyantse in Tibet
Activities: Horse races, archery, horsemanship and material exchange activities will be held
Saga Dawa Festival--the Birth of the Buddha 
Dates: Saga Dawa Festival on the 15th of the fourth month of Tibetan calendar is a unique festival of Tibet.
Place: Lhasa, Tibet
Activities: According to the legend, it was all on the 15th of the fourth month when the Lord Buddha Sakyamuni were born, achieved enlightenment and passed away, so various activities are held to commemorate Sakyamuni in this month of every year. All the activities on the Festival constitute the large-scale activity of Zhuanjing (circumambulation).
Saga Dawa Festival on April 15 marks the birth, transcendence and death of Sakyamuni. Pilgrims and secular folks will visit Lhasa and the festival is observed by turning prayer wheels, having vegetarian lunch and a picnic by the Dragon King Pond. Folk entertainers will perform Tibetan tradition; they will pay their homage to Buddha, observe a vegetarian rule, refrain from killing domestic animals and give out alms during the month.
 Shoton Festival
Dates: August (from the end of the sixth month to the early part of the eighth month of the Tibetan calendar)
Place: Lhasa, Tibet
Activities: The Shoton Festival is also known as the Yogurt Banquet Festival since locals have the custom to eat Tibetan yogurt during the gala. During the festival, religious follows will display a large picture of the Buddha under the sun, traditional Tibetan opera will be performed and various materials fairs will be held. Tourists can also visit southern Tibet.
Bathing Festival
Dates: The Festival is held in the 7th month of the Tibetan calendar, it lasts for 7 days from 6 to 12. It usually occurs on 8-14th September.
Place: Tibet
Activities: During the Bathing Week, Tibetans, both old and young, man and woman, from towns or countryside or pastoral areas, go to rivers to take a holy bath. It is said to be able to heal diseases and keep you fit.
Ghost-Exorcising Festival
Dates: Ghost-Exorcising Festival also called Sorcerers‘ Festival, it held on the 29th day of the 12th month according to Tibetan Calendar. It usually occurs in March.
Place: All over Tibet
Activities: During this festival, which falls on the 29th of the 12th Tibetan month, large-scale sorcerers‘ dances take place at Lhasa‘s Potala Palace and other monasteries to subdue devils and ward off disasters.
At night, in every household, traditional means of driving off evil spirits are carried out by burning bundles of straw and throwing rubbish in the crossroads. The Year‘s End Dumpling is served for supper.
Here is the coverted timetable for all Festivals in 2007&2008.
Festivals
Date
 
2007
2008
Tibetan New Yea
T.C
Jan 1st
Jan 1st
G.C
Feb 19th
Feb 7th
Butter Lamp Festiva
T.C
Jan 15th
Jan 15th
G.C
Mar 4th
Mar 26th
Walk Around Mountain
T.C
Apr 15th
Apr 15th
G.C
May 31st
Jun 18th
Saga Dawa Festival
T.C
Jun 4th
Jun 4th
G.C
Jul 18th
Aug 5th
Shoton Festival
T.C
Jun 30th-Jul 6th
Jun 30th-Jul 6th
G.C
Aug 12th-18th
Aug 30th-Sep5th
Bathing Festival
T.C
After Jul 20th
After Jul 20th
G.C
After Sep 10th
After sep20th
Gutor Festival
T.C
Dec 29th
Dec 29th
G.C
Feb 5th
Feb23rd
NOTE:
1.T.C: Tibetan Calendar;
2.G.C: Gregorian Calendar