The Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, is the most significant festival in the Tibetan calendar. Celebrated by the Buddhist community, the festival falls on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. This date usually falls in the months of January, February or March as per the Gregorian calendar. In fact, the word ‘losar’ literally means ‘New Year’, as ‘lo’ denotes ‘year or age’ and ‘sar’ signifies ‘new or fresh’. Commemorated with immense splendor and grandeur, the Tibetan New Year is celebrated across 15 days of which the first three days are the most significant. The Buddhists mark the festival as a victory of good over evil. Symbolizing purification and freshness, Losar is a good excuse for grand feasts and celebrations. Read on further to know the importance of the Tibetan New Year and why it is celebrated.
Importance Of Tibetan New Year
Losar is marked as the most significant festival and the biggest celebration of the year for the Tibetans. It is a time for them to exchange the warmest greetings with their fellow relatives, family members, neighbors and everyone around. Tibetans consider Losar to be a mass celebration, complete relaxation and plenty of festivities. The festival gives them an opportunity to dress in their best clothes and feast on numerous luxurious festive meals. The Tibetans offer Khata (traditional greeting scarves) on the home altars and in monasteries. These scarves are rested on one another also while greeting heartfelt ‘tashi delek’ (good luck). This resembles conveying auspiciousness and prosperity to them in the coming year.
Losar is a time for people to meet one another and spent some quality time with them. One can see family gatherings, lavish spending and joyous atmosphere at every Tibetan home. The Tibetans follow the culture of welcoming guests with a kind heart and great hospitality. However, on this special occasion, the cultured values are highly noticeable. Tibetans believe that one has to be highly warm hearted, generous and welcoming during this religious occasion. The temper of the person determines how the person would be throughout the next year. Hence, every Buddhist is required to be in a jovial and bright mood, so that he is blessed with good and happy expressions round the year.
The guests are welcomed with a hearty meal and the overflowing Chang beer. Preparations for the festival begin well in advance. People clean their homes and shops and decorate them with religious offerings. Numerous luxurious foods and drinks are made marking the occasion. The most popular Losar delicacies include the traditional Tibetan dish, Dresi (sweet buttered rice with raisins and small fibrous potatoes called dromas), Kabse (a fried sweet or salted baked snack in different shapes and forms), different meat varieties, fruits, breads, butter tea and others. Prayers and offerings are made in monasteries.