Losar Date: Tue, Feb 25, 2020 – Thu, Feb 27, 2020
Losar is observed by Tibetans, Bhutanese, Tibetan Buddhists and certain ethnic groups in Pakistan, Nepal, and India
Losar is also called: Tibetan New Year, Lhochhar, Lhosar, Lohokor
If you really are a huge devotee of Gautama Buddha, then you may be very keen to know about the festival Losar. If it is true you can find here about it in details. The festival is celebrated by Buddhist community people as a main festival of Buddhist follower like Sherpa, Gurung, Tamang, Bhote, Thakali, etc. especially who live in the hilly or Himalayan region (sometimes also in Terai).
The literal meaning of Losar is a new year and follow the cycle of 12 years which is called ‘Lohokor‘ where ‘lo’ is the special name to each year and represented by different animals with its ritual attributes like cow, cat, Garuda, mouse, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, and deer. The cycle of animals is arranged in a single circle printed on a paper or in a cloth clearly.
In context to Nepal, when the calendar system was not introduced,12 rotation system was used to calculate the people’s ages as well as time. So, in ancient times following the same method and locating date of Losar People used to go to monasteries and stupas on the very day of it and pray. They worship and have blessings from the monks for the wellbeing of their life and happiness in their life.
During the festival, you can see people decorating their houses, stupas, and monasteries with new wonderful and colorful flag and other different items which symbolize peace and harmony in the country. The Buddhist people wear their cultural and traditional costumes and perform cultural dancing and singing. They welcome the new year with feasts and gathering of the family together with a great sense of enthusiasm. On the very occasion, the Government of Nepal also gives public holiday as well for the good celebration of the festival in the full across the nation.
Actually, Losar is celebrated mainly by three communities Sherpa, Gurung, and Tamang. Therefore, mainly there are three types of Losar celebrated in our country Tamu Losar, Sonam Losar, and Gyalpo Losar.
Let’s get into Tamu Losar in detail which is very famous in our country. Well, it is celebrated by the Gurung community. People belonging to the Gurung community celebrate Losar by staying in the laps of the mountain Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
They are known as the indigenous of Nepal and also named as ‘Tamu’. They are very famous globally due to their bravery in the world war first and second. Gorkhali soldiers (Soldiers belonging to the Mongol family) are very obedient and disciplined as well. According to Nepali lunar calendar, every year 15 Poush is the day of celebrating Tamu Losar whereas it falls in December/January in the Gregorian calendar. This date signifies the end of the shorter day and start of the shorter nights and longer days with charm and warmness.
On the very festival Losar, the lama (spiritual teachers of Gumba) establishes the statue of Buddha at every house and burn different lights and candles and commence the new year. Different delicious homemade items and beer, as well as wine, are served. Buddhist people gather together and celebrate Losar in rural areas whereas people gather in common places and parade around the cities rejoicing cultural procession to mark the very new year in the city or in the country.
Similarly, In the context of Sonam Losar, it is celebrated by the Tamang community dwelling in the central highlands of the county as well as in Kathmandu valley. Tamangs are also indigenous people from Nepal. they have their own culture and dialects which differences them from other groups. ‘Horse trades’ means Tamang as well.
Sonam Losar falls on the new moon of the months Magh according to the Nepali lunar calendar whereas early January to mid-February in the English calendar. The date may vary every year however it is celebrated for 15 days although the first three days have got the most and main celebration.
People clean and decorate their houses by giving the warm welcome to the new year. People visit monasteries and stupas as them in traditional costumes. They perform masked dances to drive away from the negative forces and to bring positive forces in the family and society and in the nation too. In the village, Tamangs decorate their doors and windows with wonderful and colorful cloth and paper as well. They sweep all the misfortunes and brings good luck, long life and most importantly happiness among the family, relatives, and friends. Many delicious food items like pork, chicken, duck, rice beer, wine are taken by gathering together.
As there are 3 different Loshar, here you can find about the details of Gyalpo Losar. Gyalpo Losar is celebrated by the Sherpa community who lived in the Himalayan region. They have different dialect and culture which are famous in whole over the world.
People from the Tamang community, Bhutia and Yolmo celebrate this festival too. It is the celebration of Tibetan new year falls that is in the month of February in the English calendar. It is made up of twelve lunar months and it begins on the first day of the first month. It begins on the 29th day of the 12 the month calendar. It is typically celebrated for two weeks almost. It begins with the preparation of special Sherpa snacks Khapse, a deep fried pasty which is commonly taken during festive.
Authored by: Shlok Koirala