Butter Lamp Festival in Tibet is the last climax of the New Year Festival and the celebration of Monlam Prayer Festival. Lamas and artisans make butter sculptures of different figures, flowers, birds and animals and display them on the shelves at Jokhang Monastery, which are lit by lanterns as night falls. Some people even make the lanterns with a series of stories telling the ancient legends of Tibet.
On this day, people will go to temples to burn incenses to worship Buddha. As darkness falls, they will put up many stands to display the butter lanterns they made by themselves. The stands go as high as three-storey buildings; even the lower ones are two-storey high. The lanterns are either grand or small. The lights make the whole street as bright as the daytime. People sing and dance while enjoying the lanterns. The Butter Lantern Festival is also called Lantern Festival.
Date: 15th of the first month in Tibetan Calendar
Origin of the Butter Lamp Festival
Butter Lamp Festival began in the 7th
year of Yongle in Ming Dynasty, 1409. On the 15th
day of the First Lunar Month, Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, displayed a variety of offerings to commemorate Sakyamuni when he was founded Chuanzhaofa Council in Lhasa
. Since then, people follow their practices, on the fifteenth day of the first month in Tibetan Calendar, each household will prepare butter lamps. It was passed down, and gradually evolved to an entertainment activity.
Celebration of the Butter Lamp Festival
During the daytime, people pilgrimage to the temples; at night, the butter lamps show will be held at Barkhor Street. All the streets will be full of a variety of flower stands placed with colorful gods, figures of animals and birds and flowers image. There will also have puppet shows at night. In addition to lighting a lot of butter lamps, various of characters such as butter made birds, animals, flowers and trees will also be placed on the special wooden frame, with butter lamps at the same time. Under the shining, colorful, brilliant lights, crowded masses will walk around the street to enjoy the sight of the scene, very bustling.
The Butter Lamp Festival is held in every monastery in Tibet, forming a grand temple fair. After the lantern lit, it's just like the stars falling to the earth, twinkling. Night, the suburban farmers begin the antiphonal singing competitions. Sometimes the competition lasts for a few days. It is the most popular and also the happiest holiday in Lhasa.
On this day, Jokhang Temple will also have a lot of activities. Each Monasteries will held similar commemorative activity.