Losar: The Tibetan New Year



Losar is the Tibetan word to indicate the New Year and the most important holiday in Tibet. Originally, the ancient celebrations of Losar took place during the winter solstice, and the leader of the gelug school of Buddhism modified it to coincide with the Chinese and Mongolian new years.

It is celebrated for 15 days, but the most important celebrations are held for the first three days. On the first day, people extract a beverage called changkol from chhaang, a type of Tibetan beer. The second day is known as the King's Losar or gyalpo losar. The Dalai Lama exchange greetings with dignitaries from China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia and other foreign countries.

Subsequently, from the third day onwards, the people and the monks begin to enjoy the holiday season with food and drinks. In many parts of Tibet, Losar is celebrated for 15 days or more, while in India for three days and in other smaller regions, the festivities can last a single day. In Buddhist monasteries, however, the festivities begin on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth month, the day before New Year's Eve.

Losar is celebrated throughout the area of Indian Himalayas, where they are concentrated Buddhist populations in states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in Kashmir. Among the minor populations who celebrate Losar there are the Monpa tribe of Tawang and Memba tribe of the Mechuka valley in Arunachal Pradesh. In Sikkim, in the mid 1960, the 16th Karmapa encouraged Tingchim villagers to celebrate the New Year during Losar and not during Losung in December after the harvest. After his intervention, Losung is marked by Buddhist rituals, while the new year is celebrated at Losar.

Traditionally, the Losar is preceded by five days of exercise with Vajrakilaya, a ritual knife. Because the Uyghurs adopted the Chinese calendar, and the Mongols and Tibetans adopted the Uighur calendar, the Chinese New Year and the Mongolian New Year often falls on the same day and occasionally there is difference of one day or one lunar month. Losar is culturally more akin to the Mongolian Tsagaan Sar.

Losar is also celebrated in Bhutan, although the different regions of the country may have different conceptions of the New Year. The Nepali New Year or Lhochhar is celebrated by the Sherpa, Tamang and Gurung people.

The Losar celebration precedes the advent of Buddhism in Tibet, and can be dated to the pre-Buddhist Bön period, during which every winter a spiritual ceremony was held in which the people offered large quantities of incense to the spirits and local deities in order to gain their favour. This religious festival later evolved into an annual Buddhist festival, according to the beliefs originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth king of Tibet.

It is said that the festival was born when an old woman named Belma introduced the countdown based on the phases of the moon. The first festival took place in autumn in Lhokha Yarla Shampo region, and was probably the ancestor of the traditional festival of farmers, since it was at that time that were introduced in Tibet the 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 celebrations. In fact, when they were introduced in Tibet the rudiments of astrology based on the five elements, the farmers festival took the new name of Losar or New Year's festivities.

On the day the monks offer puja to the deities, and begin preparations for the celebrations of Losar, devoting the last day to the cleansing of the monastery and to welcome the new year. During the last two days of the old year, which is called Gutor, people in Tibet begin to prepare for the New Year. The first day of Gutor is spent cleaning the house. The kitchen must be cleaned particularly well, because it is where people cook for the family, and is therefore the most important part of the house. Even the chimney is swept and dusted.

Special dishes are cooked. One of these is a soup served with small dumplings. The soup is made of meat, wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, cheese, peas, green peppers, radishes and vermicelli. The stuffed ravioli include pieces of wood, paper or pebbles. People cook a particular type of noodles called guthuk, consisting of nine different ingredients including dried cheese and various grains. They also give the batter balls with various materials, edible or not, hidden inside, like pepper, salt, wool, rice and coal.

The object found by every person within its meatball is his character with chilies signify talkativeness, the white ingredients (salt, wool and rice) are bearers of good fortune, coal signify that you are not good people. In monasteries and decorations bids are affixed, called Lama Losar. Moreover, in the early hours of the last day, the monks of Namgyal Monastery offer a sacrificial cake called Tor to the highest member of the hierarchy of deities, the goddess Palden Lhamo.

Traditionally, on the first day of the new year, the hostess will get up very early. After boiling a pot of barley wine for the family, she sits by the window waiting for the sunrise. As the first sunshine of the New Year touches the ground, the housewife takes a bucket and heads for a nearby river, who is going to take the first bucket of water, which is considered as the most sacred, with the clearest water. The family that gets the first bucket of water from the river or from the well is believed to be blessed by good fortune for the coming year.

On New Year's day, the Tibetans get up early and wear new clothes after taking a bath. A tribute is put in front of their home shrines. The offers are generally constituted by animals and demons made with a type of dough called tormas. Also, this is the day when family members exchange gifts. Families also have dinner together, which usually consists of a kind of cake called Kapse and an alcoholic drink called chang, which people drink to keep themselves warm.

Led by the Dalai Lama, people join at the prayer ceremony along with three great monasteries abbots, lamas, or monks reincarnated Tulku, government officials and dignitaries. At the end of the religious ceremony, all present gather in a room for a ceremony of official greetings, called Tashi Delek, sitting on the floor pillows. To wish the Dalai Lama good luck throughout the coming year, the representatives of the three great monasteries of the two tantric colleges give him the sacred pills (ril bu) made of roasted barley dough.

Subsequently, the entertainers called garma perform the lucky dance, Gumpa. Two senior monks then start a Buddhist philosophical debate, ending it with the auspicious verses composed especially for the event, in which they briefly review the most important points of Buddhist teachings.

The Losar festival is characterized by ancient ceremonies that represent the struggle between good and evil, chanting and passing torches of fire into the crowd. Some events like the dance of the deer and fun battles between the king and his various ministers produce a certain lightness in the climate. The Losar festival is characterized mainly by dance, music, and a general spirit of joy. The Tibetans are also set off firecrackers to get rid of the evil spirits that lurk around.

About

Kalyan is an avid traveler, photographer, travel writer, blogger, influencer, brand ambassador, product tester and reviewer, gadget freak, movie critic, and a die-hard foodie. He is in the blogging space since 2006, and his written articles and photographs have been featured in leading magazines and online spaces on luxury travel, fine dining, blogs, wine, and culture. His posts in the social media have a strong organic reach and engagement. This blog gets around half a million visitors annually.

He also has a self-hosted blog ♥ www.travtasy.com

Feel free to mail him at

iceheavens@gmail.com

Press, Media & Collaborations

Kalyan is open to FAM trips, travel writing, product reviews, whiskey and wine tasting, as also photography work for brands, tourism boards, hotels, resorts, restaurants, publications, guidebooks, travel supplements, coffee table books, websites, and blogs.

Kalyan's reviews have been published in notable magazines like Femina and popular books by leading authors. His photographs and articles have also been featured by the National Geographic, The Huffington Post, and World Bank. He has worked with leading brands as an influencer like HTC, Godrej, ITC, Asus, Flipkart, Kotak, Dell, Ola, Britannia, Dabur, MakeMyTrip, PayTM, Tropicana, Asian Paints and many others. He is also a Google Local Guide, Google Places Photo contributor, Google Translator, and Google Trusted Tester.

Kalyan is a traveler who loves routes outside the traditional circuits and believes (with good reason) to discover real gems just away from the crowds of tourists in the queue. Kalyan has ridden elephants through the jungles of Kaziranga, explored the mysteries of Bhutan, sailed to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, sipped his way through the Dal Lake in Srinagar, shared the night under the stars in Shimla, followed footsteps of Shah Jahan though Agra, communed with nature as the sun rose over the Kanchenjunga from Tiger Hill, found his center on the summit of the Rocky Hilltop of Darjeeling, and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the seas of Bay of Bengal. He always looks for WOW moments around the world among the local people, cuisine or across the streets to share with travel freaks everywhere.

Kalyan has also topped many pan-India blogging competitions. He has more than 30000 fans in his social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, Instagram, youtube etc.

Are you a company or brand or agency looking to popularize your service or product or destination to new audiences?

We have worked with...

Travel & Hospitality: Club Mahindra, Da Mauro Restaurant, Voyagers Cruise Service, Cleartrip, Tourist SIM card for Thailand, Godrej Alive is Awesome, Kotak Mahindra Bank, London Apartments, Malaysia Tourism, Oman Tourism, Skyscanner

Tech Collaborations: Airtel, Asus Zenfone, Datsun redi-Go, Dell Tablet, Motorola, Lenovo Yoga

Shopping Collaborations: Flipkart, Jabong India Online Fashion Week, Limeroad, Myntra

Household: Ariel Detergent, Pampers Diapers, Tresemme Shampoo, Ambipur

Food & Drinks: Golfers Shot Whisky, Matcha Green Tea, Mint-o Ultra mintz by ITC, Paper Boat Drinks, Tata Sampann Spices

Entertainment: The Jungle Book, Star Trek Beyond, Dear Zindagi

Photography Portfolio

Photography: https://www.snapwi.re/user/travtasy ♥ https://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/profile/1427342 ♥ https://plus.google.com/collection/Mo2TlB ♥ https://www.instagram.com/travtasy

Statistics (as of November 2017)

Blog

Total Views – 55,06,804

3 month Average Monthly Visitors: 30,000+

3 month Average Monthly Pageviews: 50,000+

Subscribers – 1404

Domain Authority: 90

Page Authority: 51

Social Media

Klout Score: 64

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/travtasy - 4700

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/travtasy - 5050

Twitter - https://www.twitter.com/travtasy - 6300

Google Plus - https://plus.google.com/collection/Mo2TlB - 22,000

Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/travtasy - 2300

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/c/travtasy - 450

Organic Engagement – 25 to 1000 per week

According to Google Analytics, our blog audience consists of women (61%) and men (39%) between the ages of 25 and 44. A majority of readers hail from the India (50%), United States (30%), United Kingdom (10%), and Canada (7%).

Promotion / Reviews

This blog has an average daily visit of 4000-5000 visitors with a good page rank and is open to reviews, promotions on a varied range of topics from Books to Gadgets to Movies to marketing of your resorts, home stays, spas, destination promotions, social media campaigns, content marketing, contests. It can be in the form of the Product being FEATURED, REVIEWED etc.

If you have any offers just drop them a line with the complete details and we will let you know whether and how we intend to take it up or not. For readers, if we review anything it's an honest review but then we do not guarantee in any form for the product, which is best left to the end user.

Product and App Beta Tester

Kalyan is a paid beta tester for various apps related to travel, lifestyle, tech, and food. He is also a hardware tester of smartphones and tablets too and loves providing feedback for improving the products. Get in touch with him, if you are interested in getting one of your apps or products tested.

Social Media Promotions

We help brands and agencies from India and abroad to promote their products through our various social media platforms. We have a combined following of more than 30000 fans in our various social media channels of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Instagram. Our social media following is spread evenly across different countries of the world from India, the US to Europe.

With our social media promotion services, you not only can save time, but you can also count on the reach. Our rates are very attractive. The campaign budget will be specified by you. After defining your goals with us, we take care of all the necessary activities of preparation of the media and posting them as per your requirements.

SEO

Our articles are search friendly, which can be stated from our high organic traffic from Google (30%). The articles focus on travel, food, gadgets, and reviews.

Awards & Recognition

Godrej Aer - Inspire a fragrance Winner - https://www.indiblogger.in/topic.php?topic=114

Ambi Pur Perfect Road Trip - https://www.indiblogger.in/topic.php?topic=83

Kotak Jifi Is Here - https://www.indiblogger.in/indistuff/12/

Nissan Safety Driving Forum - https://www.indiblogger.in/topic.php?topic=125

Blogadda Delhi Manifesto Contest winner: http://blog.blogadda.com/2013/11/14/winners-for-delhi-manifesto-contests

Club Mahindra Dreamtrails Winner: http://blog.blogadda.com/2016/09/01/winner-announcement-travel-on-club-mahindras-dreamtrails

Women and the Taboo of Power: http://shethepeople.tv/women-and-the-taboo-of-power

Interview: MEET KALYAN PANJA, INDIAN FOOD BLOGGER ON SALTY FIG - http://www.saltyfig.com/blog/2013/10/meet-kalyan-panja-new-salty-fig-partner

Write For Us / Guest Post Submission Guidelines

If you want to spread your visibility, you can mail us your pitch or articles to be considered for publication. You can also send high-quality meaningful photographs too. You will get full credit as also the same will be shared in our strong social media network.

Rates

We offer different types of collaboration options. Rates are available on request. Contact me using the email address below and we can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement.

If you want to be in touch with him to know him more or to say a little hello, feel free to mail him at

iceheavens@gmail.com