The Buddhist people in Tibet celebrate their New Year as Losar. The Tibetan New Year is commemorated on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, which usually falls in the month of January or February. The Losar festival is considered to be the most significant of all Tibetan festivals. This festival is celebrated in other countries, such as India, Bhutan and Nepal, as well. Celebrated with immense splendor and grandeur, the Tibetan New Year is characterized by its music, dances and a general spirit of merrymaking. One can witness different traditions and rituals followed to mark this religious occasion. Scroll through the following lines to know more about celebrating Losar the Tibetan way.
How Is The Tibetan New Year Celebrated
Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is a three-day festival that combines sacred and secular practices of prayers, ceremonies, hanging prayer flags, sacred and folk dancing and partying. A month in advance, Tibetan people clean their homes, put up attractive decorations and make elaborate offerings known as ‘Lama Losar’. Moreover, the eight auspicious symbols are drawn on the walls using white powder. These eight symbols are the parasol, two golden fish, the conch shell, the lotus blossom, the banner of victory, the vase, the Dharma Wheel and the eternal knot. In the monasteries, the monks honor the protector deities with devotional rituals.
On the Tibetan New Year’s Eve, cakes, candies, breads, fruits and beer are offered on the family altars. A traditional soup called guthuk is prepared that is made from meat, wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, cheese, peas, green peppers, vermicelli and radishes, along with small dumplings. The dumplings are filled with nine different fortune symbols that indicate a person’s fortune in the coming year. On the first day of the New Year, the leading lady of each of the house wakes up early and cooks a pot of barley wine for the family. She then sits by the window and waits for the sunrise. At the first ray of the sunshine, she takes bucket and heads to the nearby river to get the first bucket of water of the New Year.
The first day of Losar is usually restricted to the immediate family. The city’s or village’s streets are generally quiet on this day. While in the monasteries, the Lamas hold religious celebrations, such as worshipping the God, chanting Buddhist scriptures and having a New Year banquet. The second day of Losar is known as King’s Losar (gyal-po lo-sar). This day is marked by visiting friends and relatives. Numerous gatherings and parties are organized on this day. In the night, the Tibetans burn torches and whirl in the homes yelling to ward off evil spirits from approaching their homes.
On the third day of the festival, Tibetans residing in Lhasa visit the local monasteries and offer prayers. They donate food and clothes to the monks and nuns. Flags are raised from the hills, mountains and rooftops. Juniper leaves and incense are burnt as part of offerings to the Lord. Although the spiritual observance of Losar ends with this, the festivities continue for another 10 to 15 days. Over the last few years, traditions have changed while celebrating Losar. Fireworks have largely become popular and are a major attraction. These New Year celebrations are telecasted on the television as well throughout the country.