The Losar Festival can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist period of Tibet. In the days when the Tibetans practiced the natural religion of Bon, spiritual ceremonies with numerous smoking offerings were held every winter to soothe the local protectors, spirits, and deities. Later, when Buddhist astrology emerged – based on the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and metal – the Tibetan New Year festival developed out of this tradition. It is believed that under Pude Gungyal, the 9th King of Tibet, it eventually became an official national celebration.
“Losar is Lesar!” Say the Tibetans. That means something like “New Year means new work!” The festival lasts more than a week and is associated with a lot of work: making new prayer flags, painting houses fresh, bake a lot of cookies, do countless prayers, sew new clothes, etc., … too the altar is now lavishly decorated according to ancient tradition.
The first day
The first day is spent with his family. Early in the morning, the children get the blessing of the father by handing him butter tea with the help of the mother. Then the ceremonies are performed in front of the house altar. After a good meal you go to the neighbors and also offers them butter tea. One steps in front of the altar, takes a little tsampa (roasted barley flour) and barley from a wooden jar and throws it with a blessing three times in the air.
On the first day, an important smoke sacrifice ceremony takes place in front of the house, on the roof of the house or on a nearby hill in the presence of monks. New Year prayers are spoken, oracles are consulted, and astrologers predict the future.
The second day
The second day of the festival traditionally belongs to religion. One goes to the monastery, where magnificent ceremonies are celebrated and numerous prayers are spoken to bring the blessing for the coming year. Some monasteries hang for a short time – for about an hour – precious and often many meters large Thankas (sacred fabric images) to the monastery walls. Afterwards, monks in the monastery courtyards perform “CHAM” dances for the visitors, which mostly tell of the struggle and victory of Buddhism over the natural religions.
In ancient Lhasa, S.H. also saw these impressive mask dances. the Dalai Lama – hidden behind a silk curtain. But the people knew that He was there and felt blessed and happy.
The third day
The third day is for the worldly pleasures. Under the open sky folk dances and operas are now performed and sports competitions are held.
The rest of the festival is spent by the Tibetans with good food and chang, the barley beer, in the company of relatives, neighbors and friends.
Since China’s occupation of Tibet, exiled Tibetans around the world celebrate the Losar Festival in their host country.