Tibetan New Year Festival ( Losar )

Tibetan New Year is hosted from 1st day to 15th day of first lunar month of Tibet Calendar. It is known as "Losar" in Tibetan language, and one of the most popular festival in Tibet. Different regions of Tibet celebrate the New Year differently. The first 3 days filled with family, friends, and traditions that could date back to hundred of years. From 4th day to 15th day, Tibetans host the largest religious festival - Grand Summons Ceremony.

Tibetan New Year Qiema

The Celebration before Tibetan New Year

In the early 12th month of Tibetan lunar calendar, each Tibetan family makes or buys "qiema" which is a wooden container of grain, for expressing good wish of good harvest in the coming year. They also make "kasai", a fried twisted dough sticks which looks golden and tastes crispy, and "luoguo", a kind of food made of butter in the shape of sheep head which signifies thriving domestic animals and abundant life. In addition, they offer dried and fresh fruits, butter and brick tea to Buddhas.

On Dec.28 and Dec 29, all Tibetan families clean their houses and draw "auspicious paintings" on the walls of kitchen. On the New Year's Eve, all family members will get together to have a big dinner. There is a featured dish for this traditional dinner, naming "Guthuk", which is made of 9 different materials, including beef, mutton, turnip, flour lump, stones, salt, pepper, charcoal and wool. After the dinner, they hold a ceremony to drive away ghosts.

Tibetan New Year New Painting

The Celebration during Tibetan New Year

According to traditions, the ceremony on Tibetan New Year will last 15 days and the major celebrations last the first three days.

On the early morning of first day of New Year and before they get up, Tibetan people will drink a cup of Chang prepared by the hostess in the bed. Then they get up and wear the most beautiful clothes and the most precious jewels. They take buckets to river side and fetch the first barrel of water which symbolizes holy and fresh and bring luck to them. Another important activity in the morning is to go the Monastery to offer sacrifices to Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism.

Tibetan New Year New Clothing

The first day of Losar is called the Lama Losar. Tibetan Buddhists begin to greet and honor their respective Gurus or Dharma teachers. Guru and disciples greet each other by wishing peace and prosperity in the New Year. Tibetan people pay visit to temples and monasteries but don't visit each other.

The second day of Losar is called Gyalpo Losar, meaning "King's Losar". Historically, it was the day for paying tribute to the kings, and nowadays it is the day that Dalai Lamas exchange greetings with government officials and foreign dignitaries.

The third day of Losar is called Choekyong Losar. On the day, Tibetan people make special offerings to the various deities and dharma protectors. There are many interesting activities, such as burning juniper leaves and incense, raising prayer flags from hills, mountains and rooftops.

Tibetan New Year New Celebration

The days from the 4th to 15th day of Losar is the largest religious festival - Great Prayer Festival. Tibetan people have exotic enjoyment, and host or visit parties with relatives and friends. On the 5th day, farmers in Lhasa suburbs hold grand ceremonies to start ploughing. On the final day, the monks will perform purification rituals before crafting massive yak butter sculptures which are will be displayed in monasteries.

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