Essay on Gyalpo Losar (Lhosar) – 700+ Words
The number of festivals in our Nepali calendar isn’t to be underestimated, especially considering the rich cultural background of our country which is influenced by our neighboring countries. With that, we have festivals like Losar, influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. Losar, the celebration of the Tibetan New Year, is an important celebration in Tibetan Buddhism. The first day of Losar varies each year and it derives from the Chinese lunar calendar. There are three versions of Losar celebrated in Nepal: Tamu Losar, Sonam Losar, and Gyalpo Losar.
Gyalpo Losar is a festival celebrated by the Sherpa people living in the upper regions of Nepal. Sherpas are mostly found in the Himalayan regions and hence the name; Himalayan festival. Although other types of Losar are also celebrated by Sherpa people, Gyalpo Losar is their biggest festival. This festival lies between the month of late February and early March. Gyalpo Losar is praised for about fourteen days, during this time the individuals sing, move, and eat unique nourishments and go to extraordinary functions at the Gompa or religious community.
On this day, even The Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu is lit up and decorated for Losar, the Nepali New Year celebration for the Buddhists. The principle celebration is commended in the initial three days. On the first day, a special alcoholic beverage known to Nepalese as Chyaang (Tibetian Beer) is prepared. The houses are cleaned and people enjoy their night drinking and talking. During midnight, they exchange greetings between each other “Tashi Delek” meaning “blessings and good luck” and welcome the new year. Later in the mornings’ people wear fresh clothes, light up incense, and set up prayer flags to symbolize new year and a fresh start. During the New Year eve, they pray to the monasteries and set up stupas. They pray for the well being and good luck of their loved ones and to be there again next year so they could enjoy this bonding again.
As recorded in a legend, Losar was first celebrated when an elderly person named Belma who presented the estimation of time-dependent on the periods of the moon. In old occasions, individuals went to the nearby spring to perform ceremonies of appreciation. Contributions were made to the Nagas, or water spirits, who activated the water zone in the area, and smoke contributions were made to the neighborhood spirits related to the regular world. These customs occurred for a whole month paving the way to new year’s day.
Although it isn’t done for a full month nowadays, the offerings and cultures are based on the legends. The delicacies prepared during Losar are also commonly found. The delicacies range from sweet to hot and spicy bowls of bean curry. There’s The Lhosar cookie, the Khapsay (plain dough flavored with salt and sugar, butter and milk, and deep-fried in mustard oil. ), is an absolute requirement for the proper celebration of the new year.
It is also prepared for other formal events. We have Gutung which is a noodle soup that is unique to Losar. It’s made with meat, sweet potato, wheat, rice, cheese, peas, green pepper, radish, and vermicelli noodles. 9 different types of ingredients with noodles as a base which clearly comes from its name “Gun-tung(Thuk)”. Days before the new years family members sit down and enjoy Guntung, with tradition saying they must have 9 bowls of the soup. They also play fun pranks by hiding coal – wool inside the dumplings.
The family bonding in Gyalpo Losar is heartwarming. On the fundamental New Year’s Day, called Gyalpo Losar, the individuals wear customary garments, go to the monasteries, and offer gifts to the priests. Lights are passed among the group and a move delineating a fight between the lord and a deer and among divine beings and spirits are performed. From here on, it is a festival of the coming year with all the more devouring, firecrackers, and moving. People Chant mantras and give gifts to the monks. Firecrackers are fired to get rid of ill spirits. People enjoy watching dances and enjoy the festival to their heart’s content. It truly is a scene to watch.
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