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Buddhist New Year Festival in Ladakh

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buddhist new year festival

Date

Dates

Start Date: 13-04-2021 End Date:    15-04-2021
Location

Location

Ladakh

A cheerful greeting to the New Year.

A cheerful greeting to the New Year.

India is a land, diverse in every aspect, be it religions, cultures, or festivals. The myriad festivals of India paint the country vividly in their vibrant hues and enrich its cultural richness.

Overview- Losar Celebrations

The snowy region of Ladakh is no stranger to the colours of happiness and harmony. The Losar Celebration is the foremost among the diverse celebrations held in Ladakh every year. The Losar celebrations mark the Tibetan Buddhist New Year. The Tibetan Buddhists follow the lunar calendar, due to which the date of the celebrations varies from year to year. It is celebrated with great pomp and vigour in Jammu, Ladakh, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. The Losar celebrations are a mosaic of secular and sacred practices, making it a highly inclusive festival.

Beliefs
Beliefs

The tradition of the Losar Celebrations has a fascinating story behind it. Once upon a time, King Jamyang Namgyal waste lead an expedition against the Balti forces. On the eve of this expedition, he was advised not to lead the expedition until the following year. Keeping this advice in mind, the New Year celebrations in Ladakh were preponed by two months. This became established as a tradition in the minds of the residents of Ladakh and continues to this day.

According to another legend, the people of Ladakh used to offer incense sticks to the deities in the winter months during a spiritual ceremony. This later came to be known as the Losar celebrations.

Culture and Tradition
Culture and Tradition

The people of Ladakh play an active role in building a pleasant festive atmosphere and in the New Year celebrations itself. They stock the harvest of the previous year and keep the goats and sheep for the ostentatious sacrifice that is one of the highlights of the ceremony. They don bright new clothes and wear jewelry to enhance the festive mood. The Losar celebrations last for fifteen days, although the main events and conducted during the first three days.

Day 1: Lama Losar: The Lama Losar is a day for honouring the dharma teachers. The guru and disciple wish peace and prosperity for each-other. Sprouted barley seeds and tsampa (roasted barley flour coated with butter) are offered to deities at the home altars as a prayer to ensure good harvests in the next season. A traditional drink called changkol, is prepared. The commoners visit the houses of their loved ones and wish them Tashi Delek, meaning ‘auspicious greetings.’ The renowned Dalai Lama, along with the other lamas, perform offerings to the ‘dharmapalas,’ the benefactors of the Tibetan monks in an austere ceremony. Enlightening debates and discourses on Buddhist philosophy and sacred dances enhance the spiritual richness of this day.

Day 2: Gyalpo Losar: The second day of Losar is dedicated to honouring the good leaders of the nation and community.

Day 3: Choe-Kyong Losar: The activities on the third day of Losar are done to appease the Dharmapalas. The people hoist vibrant flags from their houses, hills, and mountains. The whole place is immersed in religious fervour and devotion when praises are sung and chanted for the Dharmapalas. Juniper and incense sticks are burnt as an offering. The divine entities are thanked for their benevolence and their blessings are invoked.

The festive atmosphere at the Losar celebrations is unparalleled. You should not miss a chance to entertain yourself in the amazing cultural displays and performances of these celebrations and take in the cheerfulness all around.

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