Losar-Tibetan New Year

Celebrations mainly takes place in Ladakh either at the end of January or at the beginning of February. The celebration is the amalgamation of ancient rituals, drama, and dances. The "Metho" Ceremony is the main event carried out by Ladakhi people in which they carry flaming torches and chant prayers while they move from street to street to chase away the evil spirits. This year it is being celebrated between 24th February to 26th February.

How the Losar Celebrations take place?

Pre-Buddhist Losar involved the burning of incense sticks as a ritual to please the local Gods. It was believed that pleasing the Gods would contribute to the well-being of the local people. In the modern-day, Losar is a three-day celebration. However, pre-celebration is a part of the festival and begins from the month before Losar happens. It starts with the commemoration of eight auspicious symbols related to the festival, including parasol, conch shell, vase, and victory banner, among others. Each of these symbols is related to Buddhism. 

On the first day of the festival, the cleaning of the house takes place, especially the kitchen, and preparing special Tibetan dishes happens.  A special soup with dumplings in it and a special Tibetan noodle called Guthuk are two of the many dishes that are served during the festival.

On the second day, religious ceremonies take place in various monasteries. Firecrackers are set off to keep the evil spirits at bay. Local people also present gifts to the monks as a gesture of thanks.

The third day is New Year’s Day. Waking up early, wearing new clothes, and offering prayers to the Gods is a custom that’s followed on this day. People celebrate by eating “lapse”—a type of cake and drinking “chang”—an alcoholic beverage.

You can visit the monasteries in India to be a part of this cultural festival that champions the Tibetan culture.