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Tibetan New Year

Update time: 2018-05-18 Editor: 0 256
Origin Tibetan New Year, also called Losar, is the most important festival for Tibetans. In old ages, it was celebrated in the harvest of ba...


Tibetan New Year, also called Losar, is the most important festival for Tibetans. In old ages, it was celebrated in the harvest of barley. When Wen Cheng Princess marry into Tibet in 641AD, the culture of central China was brought in Tibet, including the calendar. Since then, Tibetans celebrate the festival following the manner of central China, till today.


Dress up & Cleaning

When the time goes to the last month of Tibetan calendar, all Tibetan families will start the preparation for the coming New year. Several days before the new year, every male resident must have a hair shave, while every female must wash and tie their braid. People will also clean their houses from the ground to chimney, from inside to outside. Moreover, the road, field path, or even the drawers must be cleaned. All the dressing and cleaning are in the blessing of the new year.


Before the new year, men from every villages will ride a horse to the holy mountains to collect chypre branches for aromatic plant burning event. While the women stay at home to make highland barley wine, fry Tibetan pastries, and cook butter cakes. In the last day of a year, the families should move the rubbish and weed to the field side, which is to be burned for good luck in the new year.

Prepare Chema Box

Besides of purchasing goods for the festival, Tibet families will prepare the Chema box. "Chema" is also known as "Harvest Bucket". The carved and painted wooden bucket is filled with the fried wheat on the left side and tsampa on the right and decorated with colorful green barley spikes and exquisite ghee flowers to pray for the harvest in the coming year.

Fry Tibetan Pastry

When the new year is around the corner, the hostess will fry the Tibetan pastry, which is called “Kasai” by local people. This is a kind of wheaten food fried with butter oil and is made into all kinds of shapes. Painted with color, covered with sugar, the pastry is not only an artwork to honor the god, but also a delicious food. The color and shape is the symbol of hard-working, intelligence and enthusiasm of the hostess.

Family Dinner – Guru

One day before the New Year’s Eve is the Guru night. This day, local people will hang up new curtain, stand new prayer flags on the roof top, and paint auspicious patterns on doors, beams and kitchens. At night, the whole family sit together and have a Tibetan family dinner called Guru. In the word "Guru", "Gu" means nine, and here refers to twenty-nine. "Tu" means tuba, which is a kind of soup. In the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth Tibetan lunar month, Tibetan families will make the dough and then cook with yak meat and vegetables. The dough is chewy and the noodles soup is delicious. When making the Guru, the hostess will wrap stones, peppers, wool, charcoal or coins in the dough. They symbolize "hard-hearted", "shrewd tongue", "soft-hearted", "bad-hearted" and "great fortune". Those who found these things in their Guru should immediately show it to others. This custom also adds a lot of fun to the "Guru" night.

Expel the Devil

After eating the Guru, the families will pour the remaining in their bowls into a broken crock. At the same time, each person uses a piece of watered tsampa to roll on the body while praying for the health and luck of the new year, and then people squeeze fingerprints on the tsampa. Then people put the fingerprinted tsampa, the remaining Guru, and the "devil" made by tsampa all in to a crock, and finally burn all the things to perform the "exorcism" ceremony, which symbolized the peace and security of the coming new year.

New Year Greetings

From the second day of the new year, people start to visit other families, and express the best wishes to each other. The acrobatic show teams also launch a tour show to every villages. When the guests comes, the owner will show their Chema box. Then the guests will pinch a small bowl of wolfberry grains or oysters and gently throw it three times in the air and will chant "Tashidelek" and other New Year congratulations. After that, they will put the left into mouth and taste it. Then, the hospitable host will respect the guests with a full bowl of barley wine.

On the third day of the Tibetan New Year, another important ritual is to hang the prayer flag tree. As a symbol of blessings and fortune, the prayer flag tree must be renewed every year. Tibetan families will select a good day after the New Year, dressed in festive costumes and gathered on top of the building to hold a solemn and joyous ceremony of hanging prayer flag. This ritual is called "Tuosui" in Tibetan language, which means god blessing ceremony.

On the fourth day, the Jokhang Monastery will host the Prayer Meeting Festival. During the event, all the monks and lamas for the three largest monasteries will gather in the Jokhang Monastery. At the time, nearly 20,000 monks and lamas will pray to Sakyamuni, and host the Buddhist exam. Besides of the alms giving from the government, Tibetan Buddhism believers from all places will also pray to the Buddha and give alms.

On the fifth day, the farmers of suburb Lhasa will host the grand Plow Ceremony. This day, both the people and the farm cattle are splendid dresses. Before the ceremony, the famers will set a white stone on the field center as the Guardian Goddess of Crops. Farmer burn aromatic plants, stand prayer flags, and plant the first batch of crops, such as highland barley, pea, wheat, rapeseed, broad bean, etc. after the ceremony, people gather together to sing and drink until the sunset.


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