Losar Festival/ Tibetan New Year 2018 &2019

As the roof of the world, Tibet is a special existence for travelers. Of course, Tibet has an amazing landscape. But its unique culture may be the main reason that draws a lot of followers. For outsiders, the best way to learn and understand Tibetan culture is to join the Tibetan Festivals personally. There are many festivals according to the Tibetan calendar, nearly one per month. For example, Saga Dawa Festival in June, Thangka Unveiling at Tashilhunpo in July, Shoton Festival in August, and so on. But the most important festival for Tibetan people is Losar, the Tibetan New Year.

Tibetan people are celebrating Losar Festival

Name and History

Actually, Losar is two words in the Tibetan language, “Lo” means new, “Sar” means year. As the name implies, Losar Festival is the celebration of Tibetan New Year. Why we say “Tibetan New Year”? Same as the Chinese Spring Festival, Tibetan New Year is the first day of the first month according to the Tibetan calendar, which follows the cycle of the moon changes. So it’s not the 1st. January as the western countries celebrate.

Dated back to the ancient time, when people call Tibet “Tubo Dynasty”, Bon Religion, a religion originated from Tibet was believed by all the Tibetan people. Based on the scripture of Bon, the monks would have a big ceremony at the end of the year for expelling the bad luck and greeting the new year. And the lay people would go to monasteries to give an offering to their deities so that they could get a blessing from the protectors. As time passed, this ceremony became an annual event. And people added a new meaning to it - hope for the new year. Eventually, here comes the Losar Festival.

When is the Losar Festival 2018?

Losar Festival lasts three days, among which are the last two days of the old year and the first day of the new year based on the Tibetan Calendar. Usually, there are 12 months in a year. But, the 13th month occasionally turned up. Thus, Losar Festival is normally in mid-February similar to Chinese New Year, one day earlier, or one day later. However, sometimes there will be one month later than the Chinese Spring Festival the same as 1966. The Losar Festival 2018 will start on February 16th. And will end on 18th. February 2018.

The traditional ceremony in Tibetan monastery for Losar Festival

How do foreigners attend Losar Festival?

Unfortunately, Tibet will close for foreigners from mid-February to the end of March to avoid any unexpected disturbance during Tibetan and Chinese New Year. So, there only little chance for foreigners to have a Tibet tour when Losar Festival.

How do Tibetan People celebrate Losar Festival?

On Losar Day One, all the family members will clean the house thoroughly. And then, the housewife will prepare the special food for the coming year.

On Losar Day Two, monks or lamas will hold a traditional ceremony to expelling the evil. And the lay people will go to a monastery near their house to pray for a blessing from Buddhist deities.

On Losar Day Three, Tibetan people will hang out with family or friends. And have a wonderful dinner with the family together in the evening. Enjoy the lavish food and cozy time.

Tibetan people are dancing for the new year