Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is the traditional festival for all the Tibetan people. Monks in Tibet
also celebrate the New Year as normal Tibetans.
Time of the Tibetan New Year
The time of the Tibetan New year is on the first day of the first month in Tibetan Calendar. Due to the algorithms, dates of Tibetan New Year and the Chinese Lunar New Year are not exactly the same. Generally speaking, there are four different cases: the Tibetan New Year's Day and the Lunar New Year completely overlap, different by one day, by one month or one month and one day.
According to the Tibetan Calendar theory, every 32 and a half months should have a leap month, so the dates of Tibetan Calendar and the Chinese New Year forming a specific "three years cycle": the New Year's day is the same dates of the two calendarS in the first year, lone day different in the second year, the third year of a month different and then start the cycle again.
Losar of the Tibetan calendar starts from mid-December since the beginning every year.
Usually, the Tibetan New Year begins on January 1 in Tibetan Calendar, and Tibetans celebrate the festival from January 1 to January 15, which lasts for 15 days.
Origin of the Tibetan New Year
The determining of the Tibetan New Year has close relationship with the use of Tibetan Calendar. The Tibetan Calendar was officially used 950 years ago, which was in 1027. Since then, the usage of Tibetan Calendar has been passed down year by year until now.
Celebration of the Festival
The preparations of Tibetan New Year usually begin in December. Except for the purchase of goods for feasting and entertainment, every household will make a grain wooden box named "Qiema”- a painted wooden box with fried kernel and Zanba, and colorful flowers made of highland barley grain and butter. At the same time, they also steep a bowl with seeds of highland barley grain in the water, the seeds will grow into green shoots during the New Year. It's a good wish of a golden harvest for the following year.
During the festival, Tibetan women make “Kasai”, a kind of cooked wheaten food fried by butter. They make it into diffenert shapes, some seem like ear and butterfly, some are squares or circles. Furthermore, they also color it and then wrap it with granulated sugar. It's not only the decoration for the festival, but also the delicacies for their guests.
The preparation also contains highland barley wine, wheat flour, and other kind of deserts. And each family will prepare a sheephead, grain, highland barley green shoots which mark the good harvest of last year and best wish for the coming new year.
New Year' Eve
The day before the New Year' s Eve, each family will pour out and discard waste water and garbage while the sun is setting. During the New Year' s Eve, the whole family will sit together to eat family reunion dinner.
The First Day
According to Tibetan traditions, on New Year's Day morning, the first one to get up the earliest in each family should be the housewives. After washing, she should go to the river or the well, to get the first bucket of water, which is considered as the lucky water. Any family could be the first one to get the water, this family will have good luck for the coming year, and they will also get good weather for the crops.
Then the housewife feeds livestock, and wakes up the whole family. All the family members will wear festive costumes, and the younger one should say "Tashi delek" (Good luck in Tibetan language) to the elder first, then they will give the best wishes to each other. For the seats, they follow the costoms to sit according to the seniority. Before eating, each person must first dip in the mouth with tsampa flour. The elder fetch one called grain hopper, which is equipped with roasted barley, ginseng fruit, fried beans, fried grains and other food, which also stuck barley spike. Each person catches a little and throws into the air, which is the ritual for the new year, then they grab a little to eat.
After the ceremony, the whole family will sit together again around the table, drinking barley wine, eating ginseng fruit and other food, to celebrate the New Year. During this day, the whole family gather together and keep the door closed, no sweeping, no unlucky words are allowed, and they do not visit other family on the first day of the new year..
The Second Day
Families pay a New Year call to each other on the second day of the new year, which will last for three to five days. They will give "Hada"( a piece of silk used as a greeting gift among the Zang and Mongol nationalities) to each other for the visiting.
The girls and sisters-in-law often take a variety of ways to "snatch" from men, but men should not express any dissatisfaction. Through this "snatch" activity, some of the young men and women can share their feelings and enhance their friendship.
At night, the young herders will sing Tibetan songs around the yellow fire or dance around it.
- Tibetan Opera
- Tug-of-war Competition
- Horse Racing