Losar is one of the most widely celebrated festivals among the Buddhists community in Tibet and the surrounding places. This festival marks the Tibetan New Year and is celebrated with great grandeur and splendor. The Word “Losar” has been derived from two words, ‘lo’ means ‘year’ and ‘sar’ means ‘new’ in the Tibetan language. This Festival is celebrated with full pomp and show in Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh in India. This festival is known to ward off the evil spirits and welcome the New Year. Ancient rituals, stage fights between good and evil, chanting holy chants and passing through the crowds with fire torches are all a part of celebration during this festival. People wear colorful masks and costumes participate in folk dances on the streets. This festival is considered to be a family festival with full of music, dance fun and feast.
The celebrations of the “Losar” Festival are dated back to the pre Buddhist era when Tibetans followed the ‘Bon’ religion. During those days, to get rid of the evil spirit, people held a spiritual ceremony every winter and burnt large quantities of incense. Later the Buddhist culture became dominant in the Tibet and this Festival of Bon became the Buddhists “Losar” festival. Even today the very first thing done on this auspicious day is to burn incense in front of Goddess “Shiskar Apa” the goddess of wealth. The Festival of “Losar” is a three day festival. On the first day people make a beverage called “ Changkol” and enjoy it with friends and relatives. On the Second day people exchange greetings and have get together parties, which is known as “Gyalpo Losar”. On the third day people participate in the Deer Dance and folk dancing. The families rise before dawn, paint their houses by flour paintings of sun and moon, illuminate their houses with lamps, bathe and put on new clothes and burst crackers. Women dressed in colorful new clothes and fine jewelries cook various kinds of special cuisines and offer it to the god and the ancestors. Later, the families eat the same food which is believed to be blessed.
“Losar” is a festival which marks the onset of winter season in the valley and is celebrated during the first month of the Tibetan calendar which usually falls in the month of December. The Festival also attracts tourists in large numbers from all over the world to witness this vibrant and colorful festival. Tourist s love try the local cuisines like “Tab- Zan” which is special bread made from boiled barley grains, peas and the stomach of sheep. Also “Dibrug” is a famous dish made of barley dough kneaded in sheep blood and stuffed sheep intestines. The main attraction is the “Chaam” dance where people wear elaborate masks and colorful costumes to represent the story of how the cruel Tibetan King was killed in the 9th century, which finally resulted in the victory of good over evil.