Frequently Asked Questions about Tibet Festival Tour
What are the most important festivals of Tibet?
There are three most important festivals of Tibet: Tibetan New Year, Saga Dawa Festival and Shoton Festival. Like the Chinese New Year, Tibetan New Year (Losar) is the most important festival on Tibetan calendar. It is an occasion for the family reunions and many prayer activities. Saga Dawa Festival, the most significant religious festival in Tibet, falls on April 15th in Tibetan calendar and will be celebrated until the month ends. The main festivities include monks chanting, cham dancing etc. Shoton Festival is one of the most popular traditional festivals in Tibet. Also known as Tibetan Opera Festivals, the festival is attractive with famous Tibetan opera performing and unfolding of giant Buddha Thangka.
When is a good time to have a Tibetan Festival tour?
Tourists who are interested in Tibetan festivals are recommended to visit Tibet in spring and summer. During this period, you will have more chances to attend the most popular and attractive festivals, including Saga Dawa (April 15th in Tibetan calendar), Shoton festival (July 1st of Tibetan calendar), Nagqu horse racing festival (Late July - Early Aug) etc. The climate condition is also favorable, and the temperature will not be so cold. However, one should expect to see huge crowds during the festival, since it is the peak season of Tibet tours during this time.
When is the Tibetan New Year? Can I visit Tibet during that time?
The Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, falls on the first day of the first month based on Tibetan calendar. In 2020, the Tibetan New Year is set for February 24. The celebration of the Losar usually lasts for two weeks, with colorful religious and folk activities. During the festival, people make New Year dishes like Guthuk, visit friends and send gifts to each other, and go to monasteries to pray etc.
Tourists can visit Tibet during the Tibetan New Year, which is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the annual occasion with locals. And the best places to experience Losar could be in Lhasa. But one should pay attention to the weather condition during Tibetan New Year, since it is the coldest time of a year in Tibet.
What to see and experience during Shoton Festival?
As one of the largest and most famous festivals in Tibet, the Shoton Festival is annually celebrated on the last day of the sixth month in Tibetan calendar. The grand celebration will last for a whole week in Lhasa. One of the highlights during the festival is the Buddha exhibition, namely the unfolding of the giant Jampa Thangka by Lamas in the early morning. Also, you will be impressed by the wonderful Tibetan opera performances at Norbulingka Palace. Horse racing is another exciting activity to witness during the festival. It presents excellent performance of traditional horsemanship, with items including archery on horse, double-men-double-horse, shooting on horse etc.
Where to go for Saga Dawa Festival?
Saga Dawa Festival is the most significant religious festival in Tibet, and is annually celebrated on the fourth month in Tibetan calendar. It will be celebrated on 5 June 2020 in solar calendar. Although many religious sites in Tibet will celebrate this festival, the best places to visit are Mount Kailash and Lhasa. The main activity for Saga Dawa Festival at Mount Kailash is to take the kora around the holy mountain. A new prayer flagpole will be erected at Tarboche during the Saga Dawa festival, and 13 circles around the flagpole is equivalent to one kora around Mt. Kailash. While in Lhasa, one can go to visit the Dzongyab Lukhang Park for a late afternoon picnic as a special ritual for this festival.