Losar – Tibetan New Year

Losar is a festival of the Tibetan Buddhism. It is the Tibetan New Year and it is sometimes celebrated on the different days as well depending on where it is being celebrated like in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and the traditions also differ from place to place. The holiday is a given to the people and it is a government holiday and it is celebrated as the New Year and it is celebrated on the first day of the Lunisolar Tibetan Calendar, which usually lies in the month of February and March. In Nepal, the festival is called as Lhochhar and is seen eight weeks earlier than the Tibetan Losar.

Losar is the beginning of the Buddhism in Tibet and it has its roots in the winter incense-burning custom of the Bon religion. During the ninth Tibetan king, Pude Gungyal it was believed that the festival got merged with the harvest festival from the annual new year celebration and people also worshipped the harvests. During Losar, the New Year of the Tibetans, the people did not open the bottle of champagne but they instead perform rituals to show gratitude to the Mother Earth and nature. They also make offerings to the Nagas, and the spirits of water because of whom they got the water element in their region. They also worship all the five elements of nature that are – Water, earth, air, fire and, space.

Losar is celebrated for the good 15 days where the main celebrations happen on the first three days. The first day of Losar, a beverage called as Changkol is made from the Chhaang, which is a different form of beer and is found only in Tibet. The second is celebrated as the King’s Losar. The Losar New Years occurs closer the Chinese New Year. The day of Losar begins with a morning ritual ceremony, which is led by Dalai Lama. The customs of Losar are also very similar in Bhutan.

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