Fragrance of Losar

Losar literally means New Year. The celebration of Losar in Tibet is the biggest event of the year with Tibetan people out on the streets singing and dancing. A moment of intense joy that pervades all space.

Losar, the Tibetan New Year Also called Bal Gyal Lo. Date on the first day of the lunar calendar period for three days or a fortnight depending on the place where it takes place from the date of the beginning of the year inclusive. Celebrated in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal , India Celebrated in Religion Buddhism celebrated Event Start of the lunisolar calendar Holidays Tibetan related Tsagaan Sar Losar is the word Tibet to indicate the New Year. It indicates year or was, and will indicate the new. Losar is the most important holiday in Tibet.

It is celebrated for 15 days, but the most important celebrations are held for the first three days. The first day, they extract a drink called changkol from chhaang, a type of Tibetan beer. The second day is known as the King's Losar gyalpo losar. Traditionally, Losar is preceded by five days of exercise with Vajrakilaya, a ritual knife. Although it often falls on the same day of the Chinese New Year, a day or occasionally with one lunar month difference, Losar is not directly connected with the neighboring holidays, you think instead that it is culturally more akin to Tsagaan Sar Mongolian .

The Losar is also celebrated in Bhutan, although different regions of the country may have different conceptions of the new year. The New Year of Nepal, called Losar or Lhochhar, is celebrated by the people of Sherpa, Tamang and Gurung. The celebration of Losar before the advent of Buddhism in Tibet , and can be dated to the pre-Buddhist Bön, during which every winter a spiritual ceremony was held in which the people offered large quantities of incense to the spirits and the protective deities local in order to gain their favor.

Only after this religious festival evolved into an annual Buddhist festival, according to the beliefs originated during the reign of Pude Gunjyal, the ninth king of Tibet. It is said that the festival was born when an old women named Belma introduced the counting of time based on the phases of the moon. The first festival took place in autumn in the region Lhokha Yarla Shampoo, and it was probably the ancestor of the traditional festival of the farmers, for it was in that period that were introduced in Tibet arts of cultivation, irrigation, extraction of iron and the construction of bridges.

The rites instituted to celebrate the new technical knowledge can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. In fact, when they were introduced in Tibet the rudiments of ' astrology based on the five elements, the festival of the farmers took the new name of Losar or New Year holidays.

The Losar is also called Bal Gyal Lo, in the words Bal (Tibet), Gyal (king) and Lo (year). The name is due to the fact that the celebrations were carried out, for the first time, in the year of accession to the throne of the first Tibetan king. The Tibetan calendar consists of twelve lunar months and Losar begins on the first day of the first month. In Buddhist monasteries, however, the festivities begin on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth month, that is, the day before New Years Eve.

On that day, the monks practice puja to the protective deities, and begin preparations for the celebration of Losar, devoting the last day of the cleaning of the monastery and to welcome the new year. It is used to cook a particular type of noodles called guthuk, composed of nine different ingredients including dried cheese and various cereals. We give also the batter balls with various edible materials or hidden inside, like red pepper, salt, wool, rice and coal.

The object found by any person within its meatball is his character: the peppers signify loquacity, ingredients in white salt, wool and rice are the bearers of good fortune, coal finally has the same meaning than it has for Christian children to Christmas which is that you are not good people.

In the monasteries are affixed decorations and bids, which are called Lama Losar, also in the early hours of the morning of the last day, the monks of Namgyal Monastery offer a sacrificial cake call tor but the highest member of the hierarchy of gods Protecting the goddess Palden Lhamo. Led by the Dalai Lama , joined the ceremony of prayer also offers the abbots of three great monasteries, lamas, reincarnated monks or tulku , government officials and dignitaries.

At the end of the religious ceremony, all present together in a room called Excellence of Samsara and Nirvana for a ceremony of official greetings, called Tashi Delek, sitting on cushions on the floor.

The Gompa danced in Lachung during the Buddhist festival of Losar. To wish the Dalai Lama good luck throughout the coming year, the representatives of the three great monasteries of the two tantric colleges give it the sacred pills ril bu made ​​of roasted barley dough. Subsequently, the entertainers called garma perform in a dance charms, the Gumpa.

Two senior monks are then used to start a debate Buddhist, ending it with the auspicious verses composed especially for the event, in which you review briefly the most important points of the Buddhist teachings. You will be prompted to spiritually Dalai Lama and the holders of the doctrine to remain still for a long time among the beings of the Samsara , in order to guide them in their enlightened activities. The ceremonies of the day will conclude with a farewell ritual addressed to the Dalai Lama, who retires in his palace.

The second day is called Losar of the King gyal-po lo-sar because officially the day is reserved for secular meeting in the hall of Excellence of Samsara and Nirvana . The Dalai Lama along with his government exchange greetings with the dignitaries, religious and lay people from China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia and other foreign countries. Then, from the third day onwards, the people and monks begin to enjoy the holiday season with food and drink. In many parts of Tibet, Losar is celebrated for 15 days or more, in India for three days, and in other regions of smaller celebrations can last even a single day.

Losar is celebrated in the whole area of Himalayan India, where populations are concentrated in Buddhist states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal and Ladakh in Kashmir. Among the smaller populations who celebrate Losar you are the Monpa tribe of Tawang and the Memba Valley in Mechuka.

In Tibet and Mongolia, the New Year is celebrated on the new moon which falls in late January or early February, and so the Vaishakha called Saka Dawa, corresponds to the fourth month of the year.
The 15th day of this month is celebrated Vesak, which in Tibet is called Saka Dawa, which generally falls between late May and the first half of June. In the Tibetan tradition, however, the commemoration of Vesak Saka Dawa, occurs not only in that day, but is celebrated throughout the fourth month Saka Dawa in fact literally means fourth month.

The day of Saga Dawa is a very important occasion and is celebrated every year near Darchen, lawns Lha Chu, where the river emerges into the plain at the foot of sacred Mount Kailash. Tibetan pilgrims converge in the area from all over the country, often including several days in advance, carrying goods and products to be sold with the result of creating a substantial and lively movement. In 2002, the year 2129 Water-Horse of the Tibetan calendar devoted to the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in Tibet, participated in the Saka Dawa, among Tibetans, coming from different places, and some groups of tourists, about 150,000 people. It is formed as a camp immense size and multicolored tents that seem halls of a medieval tournament or a bathhouse!

The 15th day of the month of Saka Dawa, corresponding to the full moon, many Tibetan pilgrims practice fasting. Many observe a fast of three days, but generally in the Tibetan tradition fasting lasts two days, the first one has just the room, while in the second one has nothing, it starts in the evening and ends the following morning. In the days before the full moon the high pole with prayer flags, the Tarboche, is shot down in the previous year, to be replaced with new flags on the day of the full moon.

The anthropologist Charles Allen gives a wonderful description of the event. On the night of the full moon of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar, the Mountain of Nine Swastikas Superimposed shines like a stalagmite in a cloudless sky. Although it is a very busy nine o'clock at night the silence is total. It exudes an air of expectation, excitement contained that makes me remember the Christmas Eves of long ago.

The light of day affects our tent at seven o'clock, but it seems that all the other campers are awake and in full swing already dawn. The smoke of hundreds of campfires rises as small feathers that flow into fog lint above the river. Saga Dawa is today. After breakfast we follow the crowd which makes for a natural amphitheater at less than 500 meters from the river and higher of at least 300.

We are welcomed by an extraordinary vision two or three thousand Tibetans gathered here, some standing or squatting on the surrounding slopes, but most are walking in a circle around a central point. There are so many that look like a giant multicolored wheel in motion. In the open space, at the hub of the wheel, is nestled a huge pile of wooden prayer, made ​​with several pine logs placed one over the other like the yard of a ship.

It is entirely decorated with prayer flags with bright colors, brand new, more or less half are attached four-rope about 600 feet long, which are also completely covered with flags. The Darchen the Tarboche is addressed strictly to the north and lies adjacent to the base with a hole in the middle of a heap of stones. law on these stones is the master of ceremonies, dressed in a beautiful yellow silk dress with red belt, who assisted by a team of helpers has the task to coordinate the crowd that needs to hoist the pole, some pulling with ropes, some pushing with the poles.

A dozen monks from the red caps, from the nearby monastery Kagyu Gayangdrak to form a band of musicians that blow giant Alpine horns and shells, and beat the cymbals and drums. There is also a group of Buddhist nuns chanting prayers and singing and performing in ritual gestures of the hands in perfect sync. The air is impregnated with the smoke of incense burning all around, while those who perform the circumambulations walking non-stop in a cloud of dust, turning by hand prayer wheels.

Upon signal from the master of ceremony you start to raise the pole, there is the group that pulls the ropes, those pushing with poles and struts to support those who gradually moving up the soil. For every jerk the audience shouted Lha-so-so! Lha-I know-I know! While throwing pieces of paper into the air prayers. Despite the fact that it throws with four ropes and there are at least a hundred people to pull each cable, you must at some point attack two ropes in two trucks.

It is essential that the post enters the hole in the ground from the right angle in order to be placed perfectly vertical, even if it were to be tilted a few degrees this would lead to disasters and calamities in Tibet for all twelve months. When, with a final tug, the Tarboche is placed in a vertical position when the entire amphitheater erupts into shouts of Lha I know-I know and throwing sheets of preghiere.Guidati by the monks with their raucous horns, spectators swarming down to join the circumambulation around the place and becomes an awesome vortex of dust, color and eccitazione.

At end of the ceremony all stand in line to bow down to feet in the air darchen.Lanciano handfuls of flour print as an offering to the gods and ceremonial scarves wrapped around the trunk or one of the four support cables. In many back for a moment his head against the trunk itself to get in touch with the life force of which he is now soaked.

After the ceremony, while progressively reducing the number of participants performing the circumambulation, some begin to dance and sing, others go to their tents laughing and joking with each other. This is a rare opportunity for boys and girls who come from communities isolated can get to know and develop contacts that will lead to even a wedding.

So there is an air of celebration, and some horsemen in the plain of organized horse races and contests of skill. Others go on pilgrimage on the plateau above where is the cemetery of the Eighty-Mahasiddha or Great Enlightened , one of the most sacred places of burial of the whole of Tibet. Burial in Tibet is of type plane, the bodies are not buried or burned, are deposited on the rocks, cut into pieces and fed to wild birds, for which the cemetery is an expanse of bones in the open!

Finally, the pilgrims walk towards the Drolma La, the highest pass, to make the Kora (circumambulation) of the holy Mount Kailash . The Buddhist meaning making its way around the Kailash during the Saga Dawa is that the merits acquired in doing so are multiplied.

The Legend of Tarboche tells of a tree exceptionally high self-generated in this holy place as the cemetery of the monks and lamas and blessed by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted that the trunk would be served by auction for the flags. Actually this ritual is obvious matrix pre-Buddhist Bon shamanism belongs to the high pole is the original tree, the cosmic axis, the column link between earth and sky that unites heaven, earth and world sotterraneo.

Shamanism, widespread in all areas of the earth, the universe is conceived as distributed on three floors Heaven, Earth, Underworld linked together by a central axis. This central axis, the Pillar of the World or Cosmic Axis, which is the street that runs through the shaman in ecstatic state for move through the three floors, is symbolically represented in different cultures or with a Sacred Mountain with a World Tree.

It is clear that the symbolism of the sacred mountain of Kailash and Tarboche derived from pre-existing culture shamanic Bon. The KAILASH placed on a pedestal of rock streaked, with its dome of snow that sparkles in the sun, Kailash with its perfect form blends together the extremes of asceticism and spiritual wealth and material beauty. Tibetans often liken its peak at the pagoda roof of the palace of a deity or to the shrine of a saint.

The Kailash, Precious Snow Mountain, stands alone on the highest point of the western part of the Tibetan plateau, in the area of lakes Manasarovar and Rakshas Tal. Entire airline is the holiest place in the world for both Hindus and Buddhists, as for the ancient shamanic cults Bon. Lake Manasarovar conceived in the mind of God, called by the Tibetans Mapham Tso The Lake unmatched or simply Yu Tso Turquoise Lake, has a more or less circular.

It has a diameter of about 20 kilometers and it takes five days to carry out his circumambulation. It is located almost 4,500 meters above sea level and is one of the basins of freshwater highest in the world and its waters are home to extremely well many species of fish and even freshwater dolphins. In late spring and early autumn on the lake stopping in an incredible number of geese, ducks and cranes, on their migratory journey between India and Siberia.

The other lake, the Rakas Tal Demon Lake, is considered by Hindus as a place full of negative energies while for Buddhists, who call Langa Tso Lake of the five islands, is the natural companion of Mapham Tso. In this area flow the four major rivers of the Indian subcontinent: the Karnali , a major tributary of the Ganges, the Indus, the Brahmaputra and the Sutlej. Their sources are all located within a radius of 100 km, from here you can branch out to their respective estuaries that are more than 2,000 miles away from each other.

Precious Snow Mountain is called Kailash at least since they were composed of the ancient Hindu Puranas, and for Hindus it is the abode of Shiva and lives there with his wife Parvati. Shiva Kailash is the same, so that peak white, so generous. Shiva is a field of energy, a cosmic force that, from time to time, foreshadows a creature or place, on time, leaving its traces in history.

The Buddhists call it Kangri Rinpoche (the title reserved for the blade of maximum rank) "The precious snow mountain" and is the abode of the tantric deity Chakrasamvara and his wife Vajravarahi. Jains worship him as The Mount Ashtapada , the place where the great sage and founder of the religion Rishabhanatha received enlightenment. Tibetans Bon faith, call it The Jewel of glacial snow or Yungdrung Guts Eg The mountain from nine swastikas superimposed on which Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of the Bön religion, came down to Earth from the sky. There are also numerous appellations ancient testimony to the importance of this mountain in the history of the surrounding populations, as witnessed in a text Bon:

The gods call Dad-do Ri-Rang / High Mount of the Gods. Tajik is called In -Gyer rbang Hri-do / High Mount Bon and Ge-kod Nan-lun. During the Shang-Shung is called Ri-bo-Gans can.
In India it is called Ma-nam Sarba / Mountain seawater. In China it is called the Ta-Ha-spu / Mountain snow that can not be melted by the sun. Nepal and the region is called Mon Sarba Bhi -na / Mountain of snow. In Kashmir is called Sin-ha Ra-ya / flower water. Uddiyana In (modern Swat) is called Ka-Ma-na sar / Mountain fruit water. Na In-yab is called Lan-kar-pa Sag / Mountain submits that the demons. Cranes In-gu is called Ma-sangs Nan-bit / Palace of the demons. During Jang is called the Ka-Yu-gsog / Big snowy mountain. Nan the Gods Gangs called gnan-Ti-se and the Spirits of Water called Ba-gam Tag-rtse / White house.

The Tibetans believe that Kailash is the center of a mandala, or sacred circle, which is the space of divine Demchog, where they can go to learn the power and wisdom that will make them free from the bondage of suffering.

A pilgrimage to the mountain, means then get to the Center of the Universe, the cosmic point where everything begins and ends, the divine source of all that exists and has meaning. The pilgrims both the laity that the blade make long trips weeks or even months to learn the sacred mountain for the revelation that will show them the way to transcend the passions and illusions of this world.

The Kora, the circular path that is done clockwise around the sacred mountain, is the final destination of the pilgrimage, it takes usually three days, with frequent stops to shrines and temples to pray and perform rituals. Certain Tibetan pilgrims, to increase the religious merit of their company, take a long more time, prostrating himself on the ground all the way around the mountain, imperturbable face of the roughness of the terrain. The highlight of the pilgrimage is the Dolma La, a mountain pass located on the northeastern slope of Mount Kailash well over five thousand feet high, adorned with prayer flags strung between rocks and boulders.

Just before crossing the Tibetans leave behind something of themselves a piece of clothing, a lock of hair, a tooth, as a symbol of his own death and rebirth to a new life more spiritual.
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