While Chinese New Year was celebrated throughout Metro Vancouver on February 5th, 2019, Richmond’s Thrangu Monastery celebrated the Tibetan New Year.
Both occasions don’t always take place on the same date, but they did in 2019. (In years when they aren’t the same they usually only differ by one or two days, although occasionally more.)
Note: It appears that in 2020 the Thrangu Monastery didn’t host the same Tibetan New Year open house-style event as they did in 2019. They did offer a series of New Year Prayer events, but not what they did the year before. In 2021, because of COVID-19, no in-person events happened. It doesn’t look like anything big is planned for 2022 either, but exact details are to be confirmed.
For details about future events see the Thrangu Monastery website.
Tibetan New Year at Thrangu Monastery
Thrangu Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located at 8140 Number 5 Road in Richmond. It’s a beautiful building, both inside and out.
On Tibetan New Year’s Day in some years the monastery holds a special event that’s open to the public. In 2019 the celebrations took place on Tuesday, February 5th, from 9:00 am until noon.
At the New Year’s event in 2019, outside the Thrangu Monastery you would have seen around 100 or so people, incense smoke and a few Buddhist monks. You would have heard horns blowing and people chatting, and you could have smelt the incense in the air.
On New Year’s Day in 2019 the public was also welcome to go inside the monastery and look around. You needed to remove your shoes before you went in, and, obviously, be very respectful of both the place and people (e.g., if wanting to take a photo inside, ask first for permission). If you’ve never been inside a Buddhist monastery, it was a cultural experience well worth checking out.
Thrangu Monastery is stunningly beautiful. It’s a massive red-brick building with a couple of warrior-like statues outside and a parking lot at the side. Indoors there is a large statue of Buddha and lots of gold and ornate decorations all around, from floor to ceiling. It’s a remarkable building and awe-inspiring place of worship.
Also at the Tibetan New Year’s Day celebrations in some years both lunch and dinner is provided for free to the public. People don’t have to register in advance. When we went the food was on a first-come first-served basis, but apparently there is usually quite a bit. Lunch was served at noon and dinner at 6:00 pm.
Tips & Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Tibetan New Year’s experience (assuming they do the same open house-style event again in a future year).
TIP #1: If you’re looking for a cultural experience and are curious about what a Tibetan Buddhist monastery looks like, then mark this event on your calendar. It’s a small and fairly simple event, but free, not something you can do every day and highly recommended.
TIP #2: The New Year’s event is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. Give generously if you can. The upkeep on the building alone must be considerable!
TIP #3: The venue has a fairly large parking lot along one side. With some luck you’ll find a spot. If not, you may have to park a ways down the street and walk back.
TIP #4: Be sure to go in the monastery and have a look around – don’t just watch from outside. Once inside, have seat, take in the beauty of the room and admire all the intricate artwork. It’s an amazing place.
TIP #5: 8140 Number 5 Road is about a 7-minute drive from Richmond’s IKEA (which is located at 3320 Jacombs Road).
TIP #6: If you like this kind of event then also consider checking out the Chinese New Year’s Eve festivities at Richmond’s International Buddhist Temple at 9160 Steveston Highway. The event there is even bigger and, for cultural experiences, it’s one of our favourites. The temple itself is also open to the public throughout the year.
For more information about the Tibetan Lunar New Year Celebrations and its venue, check out the Thrangu Monastery website. (You can find their Calendar of Events under the “Practice Schedule” tab in the website’s menu bar).
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Richmond’s International Buddhist Temple
- Chinese New Year’s Events in the Lower Mainland
- Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade
- Vancouver’s February Calendar
- Lower Mainland Festivals & Events
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Vancouver’s Best Places for History and Culture