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Tibetan New Year 2012

 

Losar Festival, Tibetan New Year

Introduction

The Tibetan New year, known as Losar, is the most important festival in the Tibetan calendar. The Losar festival is celebrated by Tibetan peoples, and is marked by ancient ceremonies that represent the struggle between good and evil, by chanting, and by the passing of torches through the crowds. A certain amount of levity is provided by events such as the dance of the deer and the amusing battles between the King and his various ministers. The Losar festival is characterized especially by its music, dance, and a general spirit of merrymaking.

The new year in 2012 begins on February 22 and will last over a period of 2 weeks.

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Losar Festival, Tibetan New Year

The Origin of Losar

Losar, the Tibetan word for New Year, is composed to two characters: Lo, which means "year"; and Sar, which means "new". The celebration of Losar can be traced back to Tibet's pre-Buddhist period. At that time, Tibetans were followers of the Bon religion, and held a spiritual ceremony every winter. During the Bon celebrations, people would burn large quantities of incense on a certain day of the year (not on the lunar new year, as it was not in vogue in Tibet at that time) in order to appease local spirits, deities and protectors. When Buddhism arrived in Tibet, the older "heathen" ceremony of Bon was simply incorporated into the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, becoming the Buddhist Losar festival. The Buddhist Losar festival originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth King of Tibet.  >> read more

Losar Festival, Tibetan New Year

Practice

The Tibetan calendar consists of twelve lunar months, and Losar begins on the first day of the first lunar month. However, in Tibetan-Buddhist monasteries, the celebrations for Losar begin on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth month. That is the day before Losar's Eve. On that day, monasteries do a special kind of ritual in preparation for the Losar celebrations. Also on that day, a special kind of noodle called Guthuk, which is made of nine different ingredients, including dried cheese and various grains, is made.

In addition, people place various ingredients such as chilies, salt, wool, rice and coal inside dough balls, which are then handed out,. The ingredients that one finds hidden in one's dough ball are supposed to be a lighthearted comment on one's character, in the spirit of a Chinese fortune cookie. >> read more

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