Saka Dawa Festival

Date: 15th, 4th Month of Tibetan calendar
Location: Lhasa, Jokhang Monastery, Dragon King Pond Square behind the Potala Palace

The 15th day of the 4th month is believed to be the day when Sakyamuni was born, step into Buddhahood and attained nirvana; it is also the date when Princess Wencheng arrived in Tibet. Therefore, this month is regarded as a month with great fortune and lucky; the whole month was celebrated as Saka Dawa while on the 15th day, the festival achieves its climax. Tibetans believe that one merit in this month equals myriads of merits accumulated in other days; identically, doing one evil thing during this period will get more serious retribution. They keep from killing living things and eating meat, and free captured animals.

On the date of Saka Dawa, people dress up, flock to Jokhang Monastery to pray, sway prayer wheels, twist Buddha beads, circumambulate around the old city of Lhasa, offer to the poor and celebrate the festival on the Dragon King Pond Square behind the Potala Palace. Along the streets, devout people who are long-time kowtowing are found everywhere. During Saka Dawa, the never-ending steams of people for circumambulation on the streets are the grandest sight, and in the Dragon King Pond Square, there are colorful recreational celebrations, such as outdoor Tibet operas, picnics, boating in the pond, and so forth.