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Monlam (4th-11th day of the 1st lunar month)

'Monlam' means 'Prayer', (so it is called Great Prayer Festival) is for the memory of Buddha. According to the legend, in the first month of the year, Buddha conquered or converted six holy men of false religions. The event was established in 1049 by Tsong Khapa, the founder Great_Prayer_Festivalof the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama's order. Monks from the Three Great Monasteries of Tibet assemble in Jorkhang to pray to Shakyamuni’s image as if it were the living Buddha. Philosophical debates are held among candidates for the Doctorate of Metaphysics. Pilgrims come from every corner of Tibet and donations are offered to monks. As the grandest religious festival in Tibet, mask Tibetan opera are performed and thousands of monks gather for chanting, showing the giant Buddha Thangkas, before the Jokhang Temple, attracting enthusiastic crowds of locals and pilgrims. Some people will even prostrate step by step all the way to Lhasa. Examination for Geshe degree (the highest degree in Buddhist theology), taking form of sutra debates, are held. Pilgrims crowd to listen to sermons and to make religious donations.

Note: The date of the Great Prayer Festival (Smom-lam) is usually considered as 4th-11th day of the 1st lunar month, but in different areas, the days are varies. For the three great Monasteries of Lhasa, it is from the 4th to the 25th day in the first month. For Taer (Ku-bum in Tibetan, i.e., ten thousands images of Buddha) Monastery, it is form the 8th to the 15th day of the first month. For Labrang Monastery, it is from the the 3rd to the 17th day of the first month.

 
     
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