Losar is a Buddhist festival which is celebrated to mark the Tibetan New Year. It is considered as the most significant festival in the Tibetan calendar. Celebrated over a period of two weeks, the festival falls on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar, which usually falls in the months of January, February or March according to the Gregorian calendar. The term Losar has been derived from two Tibetan words, ‘lo’ means ‘year’ and ‘sar’ means ‘new’. This occasion is celebrated by the Tibetans with great zeal and gusto. It gives them a perfect excuse to feast on numerous delicacies and indulge in the spirit of merrymaking. People convey their heartfelt greetings by wishing one another ‘tashi delek’, which signifies good luck. The Tibetans also use various other greetings express their wishes. To know them, glance through the following lines.
Tibetan New Year Greetings
Losar is a three-day fete filled with full of excitement, elation and merry making. Preparations for the Losar festival consists of chang (a mild barley beer), sweet rice, tea, butter, fried biscuits, sweets, fruits, butter lamps, lophud (a young wheat sprout which symbolizes the birth of a new year) and collecting fresh roasted barley flour for phyemar, as it signifies good wishes for the coming year. These seasonal foods are kept on the family’s Buddhist altar as an offering. The houses are thoroughly cleaned and painted new. New curtains are purchased or sewn and put up on the doors and windows.
A traditional noodle soup, called guthuk, is prepared on the Tibetan New Year’s Eve. It is made from nine different items that include dried cheese and various grains. Dough balls are immersed in the soup that contains each of the nine different fortune symbols signifying the fate of the person in the next year. These nine symbols are chili pepper, cotton ball, wood, charcoal, sugar cube, wool string, paper, pebble and raw bean. ‘Losar is Lekar’ is a popular saying in Tibet which means the New Year is new work. Some of the greetings that are used by the Tibetans on Losar to wish one another are listed below: