Know your Tibetan Holidays

Traditional Tibetan Dance

San Francisco Bay Area Tibetans Celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Birthday

Buddhism Series


Calendar of Major Tibetan
Festivals and Holidays


Tibetan: 2140
Water Snake


Tibetan: 2141
Wood Horse


Tibetan: 2142
Wood Sheep

(New Year)
The largest Tibetan festival, celebrated by all. Losar starts on the 1st day of the 1st month of the Tibetan Calendar, and lasts 3 to 15 days. On the eve of New Year’s Eve, the 29th (Nyi shu gu) day of the 12th month, Tibetans eat guthuk with their families. Learn how Tibetans celebrate Losar >> February 11 March 2 February 19
Saka Dawa A full month — the 4th month of the Tibetan calendar — honoring Shakyamuni Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. One’s deeds are considered multiplied during this time, so Tibetans often give alms to beggars and refrain from eating meat. Learn more about Saka Dawa >> May 10 – June 8

May 29 – June 27

May 19 – June 16
Zamling Chisang Universal Prayer Day. In central Tibet, on the 15th day of the fifth month in the Tibetan calendar, Tibetans go to the tops of local mountains to burn incense and hang prayer flags. June 23 July 12 July 2
Birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama Tibetans everywhere celebrate His Holiness’ birth date with long life prayers, picnics and cultural performances, always on July 6th of the Western calendar. July 6 July 6 July 6
Choekhor Duechen Honoring the day that the Buddha Shakyamuni first taught the four noble truths in Sarnath, India, and first turned the wheel of the dharma. Also called drukpa tse shi, which means the 4th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar. July 12 July 31 July 20
Shoton (Yogurt) Festival Especially famous at Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, where a huge thangkha (guku) is displayed on the hill next to the monastery and thousands gather to see it and pray before going on to picnic and hear Tibetan opera at the Norbulingka Palace grounds. The celebration starts on the 30th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar and it goes for 7 days. (On the 29th day, there is a ritual dance at Drepung.) August 6-12 August 25-31 August 14-20
Lha-Bab Duchen A day of prayer honoring the Buddha Shakyamuni’s descent from the heavenly realms to the earth. It is the 22nd day of the 9th month on the Tibetan calendar. November 24 November 13 November 3
Ganden Ngachu Anniversary of the death of the great Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetans make butter lamp offerings at home and in monasteries on the 25th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar. December 27 December 16 December 5


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If you ‘d like to follow the Tibetan calendar on your iPhone or iPad, check out this great little free iPhone/iPad Tibetan Calendar app >>


By Lobsang Wangdu



  1. Yangchen says

    Thank you. Your website is often helpful and been following from many years. Life in city keep us away from Tibetan community and its tradition. Tashi Delek.

    • says

      Hi Yang. Sorry we don’t have a good answer for this. There are so many sonam losar dates, according to your area. It’s generally based on the planting dates for each area, so this will be different region by region. And we haven’t researched this issue at all. Sorry that we cannot be more helpful.

  2. Tenzing says

    Thank you for the information, its very helpful to the people around the world. I will appreciate if you could tell me the date of Losar 2014? is that the correct date March 2nd? Thanks and looking forward to your reply Tenzing

  3. Bern says

    Tashi delek,
    I plan to visit Tibet during the Shoton Festival in 2013. However I noticed some webistes state the festive will be held between 10-30 August 2013 and yours is on 4-10 September 2013 of Gregorian Calendar.

    Could you please advice. Thank you very much.

    Sarva Mangalam,

    • says

      Dear Bern,

      So sorry for the delay. We have been trying to find out the answer for you, but no luck so far. We are still trying.

      Yolanda and Lobsang

      • says

        Thank you so much for calling our attention to this, Bern! There was a mistake on our calendar. We have changed the dates to begin on August 6, 2013. (The 30th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar.) Thank you and sorry about that!

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