Losar

Losar or Lhosar is the Tibetan word for new year. Lo means year or age and sar means new or fresh. Losar is a festival in Nepal, TIbet and Bhutan. Losar is celebrated by only certain ethnic groups. It is celebrated by Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, Yolmo, Bhutia, Monpa, Sherdukpen and other Himalayan people. It is celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists world wide.

There are many Losar celebrated in Nepal. They are:

1. Tamu Losar
2. Ghyalpo Losar
3. Sonam Losar


1. Tamu Losar


Tamu means Gurung. Hence it represents Gurung community. Tamu losar is a new year of Gurung community. On this day Gurung community celebrate new year and it is a beginning of new year.

Tamu Losar is celebrated on 15th of the Poush month i.e. December or January.

How tamu losar is celebrated?

On the day of Tamu Losar all family members gathers and exchange love and happiness. Tamu Losar is celebrated in different ways. In urban areas, they gather and perform cultural processions, feasting and greetings. In rural areas, they gather in courtyards and celebrate losar. In Kathmandu, Gurungs gather in Tundikhel every year and celebrate with colorful stalls and cultural programmes. It is believe Poush 15 is the end of winter and start of spring that brings warmness and charm. They also gather to organize rallies in traditional attires and cultural programs. Gurung men wear Bhangra, a white cloth shirt-like apparel tied across the chest and open like a bag at the back (for carrying things), and a Kachhad, like a short sarong or kilt. Gurung women and both children wear maroon velvet Ghalek(blouses), with gold earrings and stone necklaces.
There is a public holiday on the festival of Tamu Lhosar.

2. Ghyalpo Losar


Ghyalpo Losar is another Losar celebrated by Tibetains. Tibetian calendar is made up of 12 lunar months and Gyalpo losar begins on the first day of the first month. In Nepal, Ghyalpo losar is celebrated by Sherpa, Tamang, Bhutia and Yolmo. Different communities and different locale have their own way of celebrating Ghyalpo losar.

Ghyalop Lhosar is celebrated for two weeks. However, main celebration is done during first three days. All houses are kept clean specially the kitchen and chimneys and people often visit monastries.

First day: On this day beverage Changkol or chhaang is made. It is a Tibetan cousin of beer.

Second Day: On the second day people celebrate Gyalpo losar and its the main day.

Third Day: People gather together and have feasts on the third day.

In many traditional ceremonial dances are performed. They represent the fight between God and evil. Mantras are chanted and fire torches are passed among the people participating the festival. Traditional dance that represent fight between deer and king is also performed.

Soup is made from meat, wheat, rice, sweet potato, cheese, peas, green pepper, vermicelli noodles and radish and served to family members and relatives.

3. Sonam Losar


Sonam Losar is celebrated by Tamang community. Sonam Losar falls on different dates each year both in Bikram Sambat and English Calendar. Sonam losar is based on Tibetan or Chinese lunar calendar. Sonam Losar usually fallson the second new moon after the winter solstice rarely the third if an intercalary month intervenes. On Bikram Sambat calendar it lies on Magh Sukla Pratipada, according to eastern lunar calendar.

On the last day of a year house is kept clean to welcome new year. The monasteries perform a special ritual with mask dance to remove the negative forces. However, different places celebrate with slight variations. Tamangs visit Monasteries, Stupas and Chaityas and perform ceremonial rituals there.

On this very day people buy new dresses and eat tasty foods. They clean their houses thoroughly and decorate. People believe on doing so all negative and bad fortune wipe away and open the gate for good fortune. Windows and doors are decorated with colorful cloths and papers with couplets having themes of "Good Fortunes", "Happiness", "Blessings", "Healthy", "Wealthy" and "Longevity". All families and relatives gather for common dinner which includes pigs, ducks, chickena nd sweet deserts.

The most interesting part is a musical program with Tamang selo int he beat of Damfu. Short song: "Nachha maichyang timi damfu ko talaima..."

In recent days people around Kathmandu gather in Tudikhel to celebrate Sonam Losar. Different cultural programmes are performed. The main attraction in Tudikhel during Sonam Losar are puja, Lok Doharari competitions, Food festivals, Dance and Drama. On this day, Tamangs wear their own custome dresses. There is a good participation of all kind of peoples old and young.