Celebrate Losar–Traditonal Tibetan new year

Celebrate Tibetan new year, or Losar, is the most important festivel in Tibet. People in different part of Tibet have their own way to celebrate with families and friends Different areas have different ways to celebrate Losar, with Lhasa the most representative.


What’s Losar festivel in Tibet?

Tibetan New Year is the richest and most distinctive festival in Tibet Plateau. The New Year celebrations, which was celebrated for harvest originally in ancient time. During the new year, various recreational and sports activities, especially skill competitions, will be held throughout Tibet. Tibetan new year depending on Buddhist calendars, it changes each year, as the Buddhist calendar traditionally has 12 or 13 months in the year, depending on the number of lunar cycles. The 13th month is traditionally added every 2-3 years, to allow the Tibetan calendar to catch up with the standard solar year.

Preparation for new year on the roof of world

Accroding to traditional habit, Tibetans start preparing for Losar as long as two weeks before the actual celebrations, however most of the preparations happen in the last two days before the new year. These days are called as “Gutor”. During the time, housewives clean the house from top to bottom, to any corner in the house. Than they begin to prepare the food that will be eaten during Losar.

On the second day of Gutor,for prepare for the coming New Year, Tibetans lighting torches made of straw, tsampa, and firecrackers, which are then lit to get rid of the evil spirits of the previous year from their homes. As well as removed old items, and broken crockery from the house, and burn it in a crossroads, for get rid of any evil spirits and ghosts that may be lingering in the broken items, using the torches.

New year activities

Losar celebrations take place over a week. For this preparation, larders are stocked with grain and meat. On the first day of New Year, Tibetans get up early, take bath and wear new clothes. First, they worship the gods in their households and offer them food, Torma. After performing religious ceremonies at home, Tibetans visit monasteries and shrines to make offerings. Monasteries will make special noodles, called Guthuk, made with grain and cheese to perform rituals. Also people make dough balls filled with odd ingredients such as wool, chili peppers, rice, coal, and salt. When people find items inside the dough, it reflect their character: such as salt is a good luck charm, a chili means that one is talkative, and coal can suggest that someone has a black heart.

On the second day, Tibetans venture out of their homes to visit friends and celebrate community and national leaders. On the third day people will make special offerings to deities by hanging prayer flags, burning incense, and chanting. Tibetan people will continue to celebrate the season even after the first three days by taking time away from their daily routine to attend parties and enjoy time with friends and family.

Losar is filled with special customs and prayers for good fortune in the New Year. The festival ends on Chunga Choepa, called the Butter Lamp festival, after 15 days. The New Year is an important time of year for Tibetans, it is a time to banish negativity and welcome auspicious energy.

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Bella Zhang