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Colorful folk customs to welcome Losar


01-24-2017 08:45 BJT

Full coverage: 2017 Spring Festival

Now this year's Spring Festival comes as Tibetans are preparing for Losar, the Tibetan New Year. We take a look at centuries-old traditions being carried out for the special occasion.

The Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is the most ceremonious traditional festival in Tibet, which usually falls on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar in most areas of Tibet -- residents in other areas may celebrate the festival on different dates.

This year, Losar falls on February 27th. Now preparations usually begin in the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, with initial activities including the use of green shoots of highland barley as offerings to Buddha statues.

Households will also make a five-cereal container with items such as roasted highland barley flour mixed with butter, fried barley and dromar refreshments, adorned with highland barley ears and a butter sculpture in the shape of the head of a sheep.

This is done to pray for a bumper harvest and better life in the coming year. The whole family then gathers in the evening of New Year's eve -- similar to the reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve. 

Firstly, Tibetans would eat "Guthuk", a soup with dumplings, then participate in a grand ritual designed to ward-off evil spirits.

Lime is used to paint Swastika symbols on all doors; new woven rugs are placed in newly cleaned rooms; and sacrificial objects such as fried wheat dough, fruit, butter, tea bricks and dried fruit are placed in front of niches holding statues of Buddha.

Sports such as horse racing and tug-of-war are also part of celebrations, which run until the 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. 

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