Losar

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Description:
Losar (; , ) is the Tibetan word for "new year." lo holds the semantic field "year, age"; sar holds the semantic field "new, fresh". Losar is the most important holiday in Tibet.

Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days. On the first day of Losar, a beverage called changkol is made from chhaang (a Tibetan cousin of beer). The second day of Losar is known as King's Losar (gyalpo losar). Losar is traditionally preceded by the five day practice of Vajrakilaya. It often falls on the same day as the Chinese New Year (sometimes with one day or occasionally with one lunar month difference).

Losar is also celebrated by Yolmo, Sherpa, and in Bhutan, although different regions in the country have their own respective new year.

History



The celebration of Losar predates Buddhism in Tibet and can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist Bön period. In this early Bön tradition, every winter a spiritual ceremony was held, in which people offered large quantities of incense to appease the local spirits, deities and 'protectors' (Tibetan: Sanskrit: dharmapalas). This religious festival later evolved into an annual Buddhist festival which is believed to have originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth King of Tibet. The festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the...
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