During the year, four major festivals are held at Kumbum, each fixed according to the lunar calendar. In January or February, at the end of the Chinese New Year festivities, there’s a large ceremony centred on the lighting of yak-butter lamps. In April or May is the festival of Bathing Buddha, during which a giant thangka is unfurled on a hillside facing the monastery. In July or August the birthday of Tsongkhapa is celebrated, and in September or October there’s one more festival commemorating the nirvana of Sakyamuni.

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