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Losar Festival

  • Joan Pollock
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Families prepare for Losar in advance as we do for Christmas. The homes are thoroughly cleaned and decorated with flowers and auspicious signs are painted in flour on the walls. Cedar and juniper branches are gathered for burning as incense. It is important that debts are settled, quarrels are resolved, new clothes are acquired and special food is prepared. Especially KAPAs – fried twists, are offered to every visitor when they enter the host’s house together with change ( barely beer), a favourite drink, which is served warm.

Tibetan Buddhist enjoy the Losar celebration of the new year in the lunar calendar which lasts for 15 days. On the eve of Losar – the Tibetan New Year – Cham dance is performed by the monks in the monasteries to Destroy the old negative year and bring in the new positive year ahead.

In Spiti after the prayers are over the town crier shouts RASHI MASHI ( Happy New Year) then a band of 3-4 players call at each house to play and sing to bring good luck in the coming year. Families come together in their best clothes bought for the festive season. The families gather together to visit the neighbours exchanging gifts especially of home made cake with pink icing and home made chang.

The women and children all gather at the Apothecary’s house for tea and cake while the apothecary will give a talk on how to lead a good life in the forthcoming year.