Saga County Festivals and Activities
Most Tibetan festivals center around in spring and summer, including several grandest and most popular festivals. If you are planning to visit Tibet, you’d better refer to Tibetan festival calendar in advance. It will undoubtedly add a lot of wonderful unforgettable memories for your Tibet tour if you happen to come at the right time.
Tibetan New Year Festival
Tibetan New Year Festival, also known as Losar Festival, is the most significant festival in Tibet. Just as its name implies, the New Year takes place on 1st January of Tibetan calendar. Tibetan people begin to celebrate on 29th December and the festival lasts for about 2 weeks, with the main celebrations on the first 3 days. Tibetan New Year Festival is not only celebrated in Tibet, but also in Bhutan and Mongolia. Even in Tibet, different areas have different ways to celebrate it.
Before the Tibetan New Year, each household makes or buys "qiema" (a wooden measure for grain), expressing the wish of good harvest and auspiciousness in the coming year. They will also make "kasai" (fried twisted dough sticks) in various forms, which looks golden and tastes crispy, and "luoguo" (a kind of food made of butter in the shape of sheephead), signifying thriving domestic animals and abundant life. In addition, they offer dried or fresh fruits, butter and brick tea to Buddhas. Then they will Have a family reunion to welcoming the New Year, and visit their friends & paying pilgrimage to the monastery.
Bathing Festival usually falls in July according to Tibetan calendar. Lasting a week, it is also known as the Bathing Week. In Tibetan it is called "Gamariji," meaning Venus. As the star rises to the sky, the mass bathing starts. As the star sets, the bathing ends. Legend goes that bathing at this period is beneficial to health.
According to Tibetan Buddhism, the water in Tibet at this time has 8 advantages: sweet, cool, soft, light, clear, clean, unharmful to throat, nor to belly. Judged from the natural environment and climate of Tibet, the river water has a relatively high temperature and is suitable for bathing. During the 7 days, thousands of Tibetan men and women go to river or lake to have baths.
Ongkor Festival is an old festival in farming areas of Tibet held in each August according to Tibetan calendar when all crops are waiting for harvest." Ongkor" in Tibetan means "surrounding the farmland". Major activities include horse racing, shooting, singing and dancing, Tibetan Opera, stone holding and wrestling. The "Ongkor" not only shows people's wish for a good harvest, but also a good time for them to rest. Since crops ripen in different times, the festival is held accordingly. The Ongkor Festival originated in the valley at the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. The initial form is offering sacrifices to gods by natural villages to pray for a good harvest.