Tibetan Calendars

There are at least two different Tibetan calendars.  The Tsurluk calendar is the one formulated by the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339.)  In more widespread use is the Phukluk calendar which dates from the 15th century.  

Various printed calendars are available from NamseBangdzo


Buddha Days

In every Tibetan month, certain days are considered right for certain practices, and on those days the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied 100 times.  For example,

          8th Day -- Medicine Buddha
        15th Day -- Amitabha Buddha
        30th Day -- Shakyamuni Buddha

Other Special Days of the Month

10th Day -- Guru Rinpoche Day

25th Day -- Dakini Day

29th Day -- Dharmapala Day

Four Major Buddhist Festivals

The festivals (Tib. Du.chen) relate to events in the legendary life of Buddha Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha.)  For example, Chotrul Düchen., which occurs during the first 15 days of the Tibetan Buddhist year, commemorates the 15 days on which,  in order to increase the merit and aid the devotion of future disciples, the Buddha displayed a different miracle each day.  At times such as that, the benefits of practice are greatly multiplied.

Special Anniversaries

The anniversaries that are observed can depend upon the denomination and lineage to which one belongs.

Anniversaries which fall in doubled months are usually celebrated in the second month, although they may be celebrated in the first month if more convenient for the practitioner.  [In published calendars, dates of anniversaries are normally indicated in the repeated month.]


Tibetan Year of the Female Earth Pig 2146 begins 5 February 2019

Most residents of the various historical Tibetan regions will celebrate Losar on or about Feb.5th. 

  •   See 2146 Earth Pig Calendar at FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) with notes about special days, including auspicious days for beginning various endeavours and days NOT for hanging flags.


anniversary:  From the Tibetan Buddhist perspective, the anniversary of a lama's death is cause for celebration rather than that of their birth. 

Sogyal Rinpoche wrote:

“However consummate our spiritual mastery may be, we are still limited by the body and its karma. But with the physical release of death comes the most marvellous opportunity to fulfil everything we have been striving for in our practice and our life. Even in the case of a supreme master who has reached the highest realization, the ultimate release, called parinirvana, dawns only at death. That is why in the Tibetan tradition we do not celebrate the birthdays of masters; we celebrate their death, their moment of final illumination.”

Nevertheless, the 17th Karmapa, on the occasion of the celebration at Rumtek Monastery of his 18th birthday in 2006, commented:

Generally, samsara--the cycle of birth, sickness, old age, and death--is a cause of suffering and is to be abandoned. There is nothing about it to celebrate and honor.  However, if a person born in this world is helpful to all sentient beings and serves the teachings of the Buddha, then this kind of birth is not to be belittled and should be praised and honored.


KARMA KAGYU SPECIAL DAYS cycle calculated by Michael Erlewine follows here. 

Karma Kagyu Anniversaries (Birth of 17th Karmapa was 8th day of 5th Tibetan month,  but is celebrated "internationally" on June 26th.)

Tibetan Month   Day  Anniversary
First 08th new prayer flags
First  08th 6th Karmapa, Tongwa Donden 
First 09th  Long life 7-day practice
First 14th Milarepa
First 15th  Marpa
First 15th 7th Karmapa, Chodrak Gyatso
First   21st  14th Karmapa, Thegchog Dorje
First  24th  13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje
First  28th  9th Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje
Second  25th  8th Situ, Chokyi Jungne
Third  3rd  2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi
Third  16th  Terton Mingjur Dorje
Fourth  01st  Vajrakila rites, 11 days
Fourth  29th  Mipham
Fifth   01st  Chakrasamvara, 7 days
Sixth  05th  Chod, 5 days
Sixth  14th  3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje
Sixth  15th  Gampopa
Sixth  15th  Varsha (yarney) rain retreat, 45 days
Seventh  04th  13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje
Seventh  15th  4th Karmapa, Rolpei Dorje
Seventh  21st  Red Chenrezig mandala, 7 days
Eighth  01st  5th Karmapa, Deshin Sharpa
Eighth  23rd  8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje
Ninth  01st  Terton Karma Lingpa, 5 days
Ninth  04th  2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi
Ninth  09th  16th Karmapa Rigpe Dorje
Tenth  03rd  Vairochana, 7 days
Tenth  30th  12th Karmapa, Chanchup Dorje
Eleventh  03rd  1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa
Eleventh  15th  10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje
Eleventh  22nd  Wrathful Dorje Trolo, 9 days
Eleventh  22nd  Dorje Bernakchen, 9 day
Eleventh  26th  Jamgon Kongtrul the Great

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