A New Year Eve for Tibetan Buddhism: Losar
Editorials News | Oct-07-2018
India, land of different castes and religion, is where people celebrate variety of festivals according to their customs and beliefs. In one part of India, a festival is celebrated named Losar.
Losar is a festival celebrated by the Buddhism followers who originated in Tibet. It is celebrated as a New Year eve, first day of Lunisolar Tibetan Calendar. It is on the 29th day of the 10th month which is the time for the Losar celebrations. The festival starts on the first day of the 11th month officially. Losar predates the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet. Losar is long festival celebrated for almost 15 days but the important part is covered in first 3 days. The first day of Losar begins when; a beverage called changkol is made from chhaang (a Tibetan drink like a beer). The second day of Losar is known as King's Losar (gyalpo losar). Losar is traditionally preceded by the five-day practice of Vajrakilaya. In India, Losar is celebrated in Ladakh with much excitement, as there is a considerable Tibetan population in Ladakh. Losar festival marks the beginning of the New Year for the Tibetan calendar, and this is the time when Tibetans offer prayers and perform a host of rituals. There is an astonishing story behind the celebration of Losar in Ladakh. It is well mentioned in the history of Ladakh territory that once King of Ladakh, Jamyang Namgyal, was preparing to fight against Baltistan forces, but was advised to wait until next year by an oracle. But the savage ruler brought forward New Year (Losar) celebrations by a month and, hence, it was celebrated before the actual date. The locals here in Ladakh begin the festivities by cleaning their homes, and preparing for the performances that flatten in various temples or places of worship. Basically old items are discarded from homes, and new astonishing decorations cover the locality. The pet animals are also decorated here as part of the celebrations. People wear new clothes and adorn themselves in new jewelry to enhance the festive mood. The slaughtering of the goats and the sheep which were kept reserved for the festival season are done with a ritual to mark the beginning of the Losar celebrations. Traditional foods consumed on the occasion include sugarcane and green bananas, which are considered propitious. While in Bhutan, where most of the population follows Buddhism celebrate the festival by picnicking, dancing, singing, dart-playing, archery and the giving of offerings to poor people. Losar in India is approaching in the month of February, 2019.
By: Anuja Arora
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