Thursday, March 6, 2014


Losar Tashi Delek! March 2nd marked the Bhutanese New Year festival, called Losar, and the first day of the Wood Male Horse year. The festival here at Chokyi Gyatsho Institute, in Dewathang, was preceded by the five-day practice of the Vajrakilaya Puja, in keeping with the tradition of the Institute.
This festival holiday in the I
nstitute was opened by receiving the terma statues of Great Guru Padhmasambhava (the main relic in the Institute) into the temple at around 4 a.m. from the guest house. After that there was offering of the grand feast by the khenpo, lamas, lopons and the monks of the Institute. The ritual, which lasted for three hours, came to an end when the terma was taken back to the guest house.
Tug of war
In the following hours of the day all the fraternity of the institute came together on the temple yard to mark the first day of the new year. The tables and chairs were arranged under the lone standing tree right near the edge of the yard. The weather was bright and beautiful. A number of monks and cooks prepared the grand feast for lunch while there was entertaining play for other monks.
The younger monks played soccer and competed in tug of war and sack races, and there was a competition among the brand new monks to see who could put their robes on fastest, all in front of the watchful eye of Khenpo and the senior lamas. The senior monks were also entertained with tug of war. It was really grand celebration with lots of entertainment.
Soccer on play
 After the entertainment programme there was traditional midday meal which was really a grand feast. Food such as local rice, chicken, beef, emadatshi (chilli and cheese), dhal, fried fish, fried egg, mixed vegetables, cauliflower, mushroom cheese, soup, milk curd and green bananas were served. Green bananas are considered auspicious foods, the presence of which helps to ensure the New Year will be a good one. Every one enjoyed the delicious meal.   
The play continued after the lunch break with a volleyball match organized amongst the senior monks. While there was entertainment in their play, it was also serious competition, and included prizes, provided by the institute, for the winning teams. The first day came to an end with the awarding of prizes to the winners.
The second and third days of Losar were celebrated with playing games and arranging special meals.
New monks wearing robes
The word losar is the Tibetan word for "new year". Lo means the "year, age"; sar means the "new, fresh". The losar is traditionally celebrated for three days.



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