Home » Tibet Travel » Know your Tibetan Holidays (Updated for 2024)

Know your Tibetan Holidays (Updated for 2024)

This is a list of the major holidays in Tibet and for Tibetans around the world. If you want to experience a Tibetan festival or holiday on your trip to Tibet, check the list below, then talk to your Tibet travel agent for details. (For help connecting to a reliable Tibetan agent, ask us for help. )

Tibetan Holidays: Tibetan ladies getting ready for the Palden Lhamo Festival at Tengye Ling: Lhasa Tibet

If you’re planning to visit Tibet, you should also know that no independent travel is allowed and you must work with a travel agency. We advise that you choose a Tibetan-owned agency, which hires Tibetan guides only. The simplest way to do this is ask us to connect you to a reliable Tibetan-owned travel agent. (Note to our Indian friends: Due to government policies our agents in Tibet cannot help Indian nationals going to Kailash.)

2024 Travel Advisory: 

China is piloting visa-free programs for certain countries for entry to China, but all international travelers to Tibet also require a special Tibet permit.

US travelers must have both a Chinese visa (which you get on your own in the US) and a special Tibet travel permit, which you must get from an official Tibet travel agency. Starting January 1, 2024, China is simplifying the visa process for Americans, removing required proof of round-trip flights, hotel reservations and itinerary.

If you need help traveling to Tibet, ask us for an introduction to a reliable Tibetan travel agency here, at no cost to you.

Tibetan Holidays in 2024

Losar (Tibetan New Year) February 10, 2024
The largest Tibetan festival. Unfortunately, Lhasa and the whole T.A.R. are usually (but not always) restricted from foreign travelers during Losar. 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 >>


Saka Dawa May 9 – June 6 [Full moon day = May 23]
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 >>


Zamling Chisang Jun 22
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.


Birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama July 6
Tibetans everywhere celebrate His Holiness’ birth date with long life prayers, picnics and cultural performances, always on July 6th of the Western calendar.


Choekhor Duechen July 9
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.


Shoton (Yogurt) Festival September 30 start
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 7th month of the Tibetan calendar and it goes for 7 days. (On the 29th day, there is a ritual dance at Drepung.)


Lha-Bab Duchen November 22
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.


Ganden Ngachu December 25
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.

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Comments

36 responses to “Know your Tibetan Holidays (Updated for 2024)”

  1. Yishey Choden Avatar
    Yishey Choden

    Thank you so much for continuing to update this. It is very helpful.
    Thuje nang!

  2. Can someone give me the Gregorian date for the 10th day of the 6th Tibetan month?
    According to the Gregorian calendar in 1970

  3. Hi do you have Losar dates for 2019 ?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks for asking dates for Losar. I just updated the post.

  4. Thank you so much. This gives me a better idea and understanding of the Tibetan holidays and festivals. I would love to attend one of them one day. tu jay chay.

    1. You are so welcome, Jo! Thank you!

  5. bill Shakespear Avatar
    bill Shakespear

    Could you please tell me when is Vesak Day?And is Vesak the same as Saga Dawa?

    1. Yes, we believe it is the same as Saka Dawa.

  6. SHAKI TSHERING DAS Avatar
    SHAKI TSHERING DAS

    thujichay . much appreciate

    1. You’re so welcome Tsering la!

  7. SHAKI TSHERING DAS Avatar
    SHAKI TSHERING DAS

    THUJICHAY

  8. ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ་

  9. alaric Avatar

    It’s very useful ,thank you

    1. You are welcome, Alaric!

  10. Yangchen Avatar
    Yangchen

    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.

    1. Thank you Yangchen!

      1. 🙏 Thank you! A very useful website about our Tibetan auspicious days to celebrate!
        🙏 Yowangdu la!

  11. thanks, now i know when to fly the tibetan flag 🙂

    1. You’re welcome!

  12. When is the Tibetan equivalent to Christmas and what is it called?

    1. Hi Jeanell,
      Sorry we thought we responded. We suppose the closest thing would be Saka Dawa, which you can read about here on the site.
      Best to you!

  13. […] In Tibet, the year opens on our March 2. It also will not be 2014 there, but 2141, the year of the wood horse. […]

  14. can you please tell me when is sonam phey losar (farmers new year)in tibetan calender?mm/dd/year?

    1. 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.

  15. thanks for the calendar…now it would be easier for me to know the major Tibetan festivals….

    1. You are so welcome, Alisha! Thanks for writing 🙂

  16. Tenzing Avatar

    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

    1. Hi Tenzing,
      We believe March 2 is correct, thanks.

    2. Hi Tenzing,
      We believe March 2 is correct 🙂

  17. This is soooo helpful! Thank you Yolanda and Lobsang-la!

    1. You are so welcome!

  18. 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,
    Bern

    1. 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.

      Thanks,
      Yolanda and Lobsang

      1. 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!

  19. s.r.waybill Avatar
    s.r.waybill

    This is very useful!! Thank you.

    1. You’re welcome!

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