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Tibetan Festivals are directly rooted to ancestral cultural traditions and the methods of celebrating vary from place to place. Tibetan Festivals are traditionally held throughout the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is calculated each year by astrologers from Mentse Khang (Tibetan Traditional Medicine Centre) and is based on a cycle of 60 years, each of which is named after a combination of one of 12 animals and one of five elements. Normally, a year contains 12 months, but the removal or addition of an extra month for astrological reasons is not uncommon. The table below lists the major festivals in Tibet and their dates. In short, through these festivals, the Tibetan people are able to celebrate their connection with both Buddhism and Nature. Festivals also provide an opportunity for Tibetans to showcase their hardy and sincere personalities, display their ethnical affinities and demonstrate their steady economic and social progress. Festivals are an outstanding way for the traveler to experience a colorful cultural immersion into the traditions and customs of the Tibetan people.

Tibetan Festival Calendar

Name of the Festival Location 2015 2016 2017
Tibetan New Year (Losar) Almost All Tibet Feb 19  Feb 09 Feb 27
Monlam Prayer Festival Lhasa Feb 22 Feb 23 Mar 11
Butter Oil Lantern Festival Almost All Tibet Mar 05 Feb 23 Mar 11
Saga Dawa Almost All Tibet June 02 May 21 June 09
Gyatse Horse Racing Gyantse July 18 July 18 June 08
Tashi Lhunpo Thangka Display Shigatse July 02 July 17 July 17
Zamling CHisang/Samye Dolde Samye Monastery July 02 July 19 July 09
Chokor Duchen Festival Almost All Tibet July 20 Aug 06 July 27
Ganden Thangka Display Ganden Monastery July 31 Aug 18 Aug 07
Shoton Festival Lhasa Aug 14-20 Sep 01-07 Aug 21-27
Nachu Horse Racing Nachu Aug 10-16 Aug 10-16 Aug 10-16
Lhabap Duchen Festival Almost All Tibet Nov 03 Nov 20 Nov 10
Pal Lhamo Festival Lhasa Nov 25 Dec 13 Dec 03
Ganden Ngacho Almost All Tibet Dec 05 Dec 23 Dec 12
Labrang Monlam Festival Labrang, Amdo Mar 03 Sep 02
Lithang Horse Racing Festival Lithang Aug 02
Jye Kundo(Yushu) Horse Racing Festival Yushu July 25 July 25 July 25