Festival of Losar is an important festival for the Tibetan Buddhist community. This festival celebrates Tibetan New Year. Literally, Lo means new and sar means year in Tibetan language. Wherever in the world, Buddhist community lives, this festival is celebrated. In India , it is celebrated for 3 days only , whereas in Tibet , it is a 15 days long celebration. It is believed that this celebration welcomes the New Year and puts away bad omen of year gone by. Tibetan calendar has 12 lunar months and Losar starts on the first day of first month.
Losar was celebrated since ancient times, pre-Buddhist times, when ‘Bon’ religion was practiced. During winters deities and protectors were worshipped by offering lots of incense.
Later, from the times of ninth king of Tibet , Pude Gungyal, it turned into a religious Buddhist festival which is celebrated annually.
This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Buddhist community. It is time to cheer, great, pray and seek blessings. Hectic preparations are made for the Losar celebration on one day before the Losar’s eve. Very attractive decorations are made and called ‘Lama Losar’.
People wear new clothes which is a tradition for this day. People visit monasteries, shrines and stupas to pray, to make offerings to the Lord. Donations are great part of celebration for that day. They donate food and other gifts to monks and nuns. Also this is the day to meet family and friends and greet each other. They wish good luck to all by saying “Tashi Delek”. On the Losar Day, prayers are offered by monks in Monasteries.
Before Losar, people make it a point to clean, whitewash and decorate their homes. They hoist new colorful prayer flags. There are other lots of preparations related to Losar. All this starts at least one month before Losar.
People prepare many delicacies at home and have enjoyable times with family and friends. A traditional delicacy for this festival is ghutuk which is a soup prepared from various vegetable and wine.