Tibetan New Year (Losar)-Traditional Tibetan Festival
people celebrate Tibetan New Year

Introduction of Tibetan New Year

Tibetan New Year is the most important festival for Tibetans. It is also known as Losar in Tibetan word. “Lo” means “year” and “sar” means “new and fresh”. So “Losar” means “new year”. Normally, the festival is celebrated for 15 days and the first three days have main celebrations. People call the last two days of the last year Gutor. On the first Gutor, people clean the house and prepare the food with families together. One special food is Guthuk, which are small dumplings served with soup. It is very delicious and nutritious. On the New Year’s Eve, the second Gutor, people visit the monasteries and donate some money to the monks. Also, women go to markets to buy some food and replace new curtain. On the New Year’s Day, people get up early and start a praying ceremony in their home. After that, they have a union dinner.

Tibetan family reunion dinner at Tibetan New Year festival.
Family reunion dinner at Tibetan New Year

Main activities in Tibetan New Year

Tibetan New Year is important for Tibetan families to reunion after a year’s work. They. By cleaning the house and preparing the food together, they communicate with each other and express their love. Also, it is a festival for religious activities. For example, people go to monasteries for worship and erect new prayer flags on the rooftop or on mountains. When erecting the prayer flags, they splash tsampa (roasted barley flour) in the air. Besides, people burn sang to offer blessings to God. Sang is a compile of pine tree and cypress branches. While burning, it smells aromatically. The festival is for social purpose, too. People visit their relatives and friends and send hada to each other. Dancing is essential for the celebration. People group in a circle, singing and dancing together. Some places hold horse racing, arrow shooting, tug-of war and wrestling competitions as well.

People dance in Tibetan New Year
People dance at Tibetan New Year

Delicious Tibetan New Year food-Guthuk

People eat Guthuk on the 29th day of the last year. It is like a family union food like Chinese dumplings. “Gu” means nine and “thuk” means pasta in soup. Because Tibetans think odd numbers are auspicious and nine is particularly associated with good luck, there are normally nine ingredients in the soup, such as meat, flour, rice, radish, peas, pepper and etc. Also, people will add dough balls to increase the festival atmosphere. They will put different things in the dough balls such as stone, wool, chilly, coin and peas. If you eat stone in the dough, it means you are a stingy person. Chilly means you have a sharp tongue. Wool is for a gentle person. Coin forecasts you will have many fortunes. Peas means untrustworthy people.  People discuss who gets what and laugh together. It is really a funny part of the eating Guthuk.  

Tibetan New Year food guthuk
Guthuk, delicious Tibetan New Year food


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Helen Jiao