THE LOSAR FESTIVAL OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH [1 min read]
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THE LOSAR FESTIVAL OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH




The Losar festival or Monpa festival is an important festival of the Monpa tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. It is celebrated as the Tibetan New Year. The celebration lasts for 15 days, but the initial 3 days are the most important ones. Every year, the date and location of this festival is changed.

One the first day of the festival, one or two family members go to the water-tap or stream in the early dawn to draw the first water. They offer incense to the water source, bind a scarf over the tap, offer local liquor, and recite prayers to please the spirits.

They believe that the water drawn that day has purifying and sanctifying properties as it has been cleansed the night before by the starlight. Upon getting back home, they recite prayers in the lamp-lit chapels for a healthy, calm and prosperous year. They then serve local food and bid farewell to the relatives.

On the second day, they celebrate by visiting each others’ houses, dancing and singing, gambling, and conducting competitions. On the third day, they hoist flags both vertically and horizontally on their roofs; and recite prayers to honor spirits and deities.

This festival comes during around January or February, according to the Tibetan calendar, there are many events such as the dance of the deer and the amusing battles between the King and his various ministers are highlights of this festival. Losar is characterized especially by dancing, music, and a general spirit of merrymaking.


In Ladakh, Losar is regarded as the most important socio-religious event. The festival is marked by making offerings to the Gods, both in Gompas and their shrines. The celebrations are an amalgamation of ancient rituals, staged dance dramas, the dance of the Ibex deer and lots of music, dance and revelry for the people. The auspicious images of the Ibex deer and other symbols are made on the door, walls of kitchen and wooden columns to welcome the New Year.


Losar festival is celebrated basically arrival due to the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet and is practiced in winter  burning custom of the Bon religion. During the reign of the ninth Tibetan king, Pude Gungyal (617-698), it is said that this custom was united with a harvest festival to form the annual Loser festival.


Tenzin Wangyal shares his experience of Tibetan cultural practice of Losar by saying that, During Losar, the Tibetan celebration of the new year. They visited to the local spring to perform a ritual of gratitude. They made offerings to the nagas, the water spirits, made smoke offerings to the local spirits related to nature around them.


Families prepare for Losar some days in advance by thoroughly cleaning their homes; decorating their homes with beautiful flowers and their walls with signs painted in flour such as the sun, moon, or a reversed swastika; and preparing cedar, rhododendron, and juniper. New clothes are are brought and special foods such as kapse, fried twists are made. A favorite drink is chang (barley beer) which is served warm.

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