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Mysterious and Colorful Traditional Festivals
Festival Time Introduction
New Year
7Feb 17Feb 6Feb It si the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient times when the peach tree was in blossom, it was considered as the starting of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 A.D., the first day of the first month became fixed as the New Year. On the New Year's Day, families unite, "auspicious dipper" is offered, and the auspicious words "tashi delek" are greeted.
Great Prayer
It is the greatest religious festival in Tibet. It was instituted by Tsong Khapa in 1409, the founder of the Gelukpa sect. Monks from the Three Great Monasteries of Tibet assemble in Jokhang for praying to Shakyamumni's image as if it were the living Buddha. Philosophical debates are held among - candidates for the Doctor of Metaphysics. Pilgrims come from every corner of Tibet and donations are offered to monks.
21Mar 2Mar 19Feb It is the last day of the Great Prayer Festival. In order to celebrate Shakyamuni's victory over non-Buddhist opponents, the Lord of Neu Dzong, a noted patron of Tsongkapa, illuminated numerous butter-lamps in 1409. Ever since the festival flourished.
Horse Race
and Archery
Horse race and archery are generally popular in Tibet, and Gyanyse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Presently, ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.
The World
Incense Day
9Jul 28Jun 16Jul Gods in heaven are believed to descend to the mortal wold on this day. Incense is burnt in large scales and picnicking is done in public parks.
And Six-Four Festival in July and August, "Shoton" Festival in August, Bathing Week, Death of Tsongkapa in December, Driving off Evil Spirits in February.

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