Great Prayer Festival
People in Tibet Autonomous Region have devoutly worshipped Tibetan Buddhism for more than 1,300 years. Buddhism first started in 7th century during the time of 33rd king Songtsen Gamp. Tibetan Buddhism has a big influence on the many festivals in the region. Many of the festivals have evolved into purely religious events due to the fact that Tibetan people, long faced with extremely harsh natural conditions, have continually yearned for the blessings and protection of Buddha.
Great Prayer Festival
Great Prayer festival in tibet was Instituted by Tsongkapa in 1409, the founder of the Gelukpa Sect. during the time of festival Monks from the Three Great Monasteries of Tibet assemble in Jokhang to pray to Shakyamuni and Philosophical debates are held among candidates for the Doctorate of Metaphysics. Pilgrims from every corner of Tibet come to joking temple to make offered for monks.
The Saga Dawa Festival
Through the whole fourth month of Tibetan calendar, lay man and monks don't eat meat and don't commit any thing that is related to slaughtering of animals. They only concentrate themselves on turning prayer wheels and reciting Buddha's scriptures.It is said that on the 1st of the fourth month is the day that Shakyamuni was born, became enlightened and achieved nirvana. On this day every year, people in their holiday best, singing and dancing,go into parks for their dinner party.
The Shoton Festival in Lhasa
On the First of the Seventh month, or August in Tibetan calendar, traditionally, after the monks are required to remain sequestered in their monasteries for the ascetic practice of Buddhism, people from their families prepared sour milk for them to drink with dancing following in their period of confinement. Shoton means ?°Yogurt Festival ?±. In the early 17th century, the Shoton festival became a joint performance with the Tibetan operas. Tibetan artists with different schools from all over Tibet came to gather in Norbu Lingka to have a performing competition, which lasted for several days. During this period, the Drepung Monastery would hold a large portrait of Buddha displaying ceremony.
The Wongkor or Harvesting Festival
It is an occasion that Tibetans celebrate before harvesting. When we celebrate this important moment , people dress in their colorful clothes uphold colored flags with good wishes. They make a pagoda of harvest with the ceremonial scarves twining round the highland barley and the wheat ears, beating drums and gongs, singing in their odes and walk around the fields in prayers for a bumper harvest, and then followed by a horse race. The autumn harvest starts as soon as the festival is over.
Heavenly Maid Festival or Palden Lhamo Festival
Tibet is a place of festivals and this festival is celebrate on the 15th of the tenth month of Tibetan calendar, religious activities are held in temples throughout Tibet, this festival is specially for the Protector Palden Lhamo (who was woman) there for Tibetan women love the festival because they think this is a special occasion for themselves
Butter Lamp Festival or Tsongkapa's Death Anniversary
Butter Lamp Festival or Death Anniversary of Tsongakpa
It is held on the 25th day of the 10th month, which is in November or December in Gregorian calendar. It is the day on which Tsongkapa, the founder of the Gelug Sect met his demise. Every household light lamps on roofs of houses and windowsills chanting prayers in memory of Tsongkapa in the night.
In the 7th month in Tibetan calendar or in September in Gregorian calendar is the period, which the Venus appears only for seven nights in one year. Tibetan people think the water is specially holy and clean during this week. They believe that the dirt can be washed off, illness can be cured and their health can be improved. During the week, people all go to riverbanks for bathing, washing their clothes and playing at their pleasure.
Gyantse Horse Race and Archery
Horse racing and archery are very popular in Tibet, Contests in early times included horse races, archery, and shooting on galloping horse-back followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Presently, ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, also form part of the celebrations.