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Losar New Yeat Festival

Losar is the Tibetan/Sherpa word for “new year”. The most important holiday in Tibet falls during this period. Losar gets celebrated for 15 days, without counting the preparatory period, with the main celebrations occurring on the first three days. The Tibetan calendar is of twelve lunar months, and Losar begins on the first day of the first month.

The last day of the 12th month of the year is a time to clean up and create an atmosphere to welcome the New Year. The monasteries perform a special ritual with mask dances to expel negative forces. The custom of this day is to make a special soup called ‘guthuk’ in every household and monastic community. It gets prepared with nine different ingredients, including dried cheese and various grains. In the guthuk a ball of dumpling, with different ingredients hidden in them such as salt, chilly, rice, wool, and coal, for each member of the family gets added. The elements one finds hidden in them are supposed to be a light-hearted comment on one’s character, which makes the dining time of laughter and jokes. Those who find chilly in their dumpling, for instance, are talkative. White-colored ingredients, such as wool or rice, are considered a good sign.

In the evening, after having guthuk soup, everyone member present in the family collects some of their guthuk, a piece of fingernail, a strand of hair, used cloths, and some money. Then they perform a special ritual of throwing them away at a nearby crossroad. This expelling of all negative forces in one’s body, mind and household mark the end of the year.

Losar, on the first day of the first month, begins by rising very early and collecting water from nearby springs. One person from each household visits the springs with an offering of khapse (a special kind of cookie prepared for Losar), incense, khata (a ceremonial scarf), and other items. The offerings are to the nagas, the water spirits who activate the water element in the area.

A pot of water from each spring visited is brought and offered to the deities at home, the leftover water gets collected in a large water-pot for good fortune. Afterwards, all family members gather in their best dress, consume chhimar, khapse and changgol and receive blessings from elders.

On the third day, a great gathering of Sherpas, Tibetans, Tamangs, Gurungs, and other groups, celebrating the Lhosar, takes place at Boudhanath Stupa to celebrate the Lhapso (New Year offering to the gods) and to exchange the traditional greeting of “Tashi Delek”.

From the third day onwards, households and communities celebrate and enjoy the festive season more informally. People organize picnics, invite relatives and friends over, and go to visit elders and monasteries.

The Gyalpo Losar (King’s Losar) gets celebrated in the Himalayas of Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and India. The Tamangs of Nepal celebrate the Sonam Losar one month earlier. According to myth, the certain king could not return in time from war, so his people did not rejoice and kept waiting for his arrival. A group of celebrants did not wait for the king, however, and this became the Sonam Losar. The group who celebrated only on the king’s return gave rise to Gyalpo Losar.

The Losar festivals take place in different parts of the country on different dates with the start of the springtime in the country. We will always be pleased to make you a part of our new year festival and let you enjoy the festive events by taking you in celebration, gathering and picnic celebrations. Please, let us know at annatreks@gmail.com, if you are around here at the time of the year, the Sherpas and other communities will be thrilled to find you among them.

households and communities celebrate and enjoy the festive season more informally. People organize picnics, invite relatives and friends over, and go to visit elders and monasteries”