Tibetan new year, also known as Losar is the most important festival for the people in Tibet. Lo means year and sar means new, Losar is celebrated for 3 days and can last up to 2 weeks.
The Tibetan calendar is lunisolar and is around 35 to 65 days behind the Gregorian calendar in its month-day system. Losar begins on the first day of the Tibetan calendar year.
Tibetan New Year Activities
Tibetans celebrate Losar in two distinct parts. First, they close out the old year with activities centred on the last night of the year. Lastly, Tibetans turn their attention to celebrating the new year by inviting all good and auspicious things to their home.
During Gutor, the last two days of the old year, Tibetans prepare for the new year by cleaning their houses, especially the kitchen where food is being prepared. Kitchens are cleaned using dry wheat flour to paint eight auspicious patterns on the central wall.
Tibetans also make special dough balls known as Gutu, in which various ingredients are mixed such as chillies, salt, wool, rice, and coal. Gutu is handed out, and the ingredient you find inside represents someone's character. Finding chilli inside will mean someone's talkative, whereas salt or rice is usually a good sign. Coal inside the Gutu can mean a "black heart".
On the second day of Gutor, religious ceremonies are held, and people go to monasteries to worship and donate.
During the day of Losar, housewives get up early to get "First Water of the Year" and use this to make meals that are believed to be auspicious. Family members will get together on this day to eat dinner together. Staples on their dining tables will be a cake called Kapse and an alcoholic drink called Chang.
On the second day of Losar, Tibetans visit their friends and relatives and carry qemar to send their new year greetings. The third day is reserved for religious rituals and offerings in monasteries. Two of the most important activities on this day are Wei Sang and the hanging of new prayer flags on their rooftops. Wei sang is a tradition where they burn pine trees and herbs to make aromatic smoke as an offering to the Gods.
Celebrate the new year with the Tibet with auspicious items that brings luck and good fortune. Tibetan tingsha (or Ting-Sha) are small cymbals used in prayer and rituals by Tibetan Buddhist practitioners.