Losar- Celebrated on the auspicious occasion of the Buddhist new year, Losar is a time for festivity and happiness for the people of Ladakh.
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Leh Ladakh » Ladakh Fairs & Festivals » Losar

Losar

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Losar is one of the most important religious festival of Buddhists. The word Losar literally means 'New Year'. It is characterized by dancing, singing and feasting. Losar holds a great importance in the festival calender of Buddhists, celebrated on Tibetan New Year.

History of Losar
The origin of Losar festival can be marked even before the beginning of Buddhist religion in Tibet. During pre-Buddhist period, Tibetans followed the Bon religion. A religious festival “Bon” was celebrated as a spiritual custom in the winter season. On this special occasion large quantity of incense was burnt to please the local deities, spirits and protectors. With the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet, Bon ceremony was merged into Buddhist tradition and was renamed as Buddhist Losar festival. During the reign of the ninth king of Tibet, Pude Gungyal, this religious custom was celebrated as the Buddhist festive occasion.

Legendary Tale Of Losar Celebrations in Ladakh
A legendary tale is associated with the celebrations of Losar festival. In the 17th century, a tradition was set by King Jamyang Namgyal when he was ruling the region. He wanted to set an expedition against the Balti forces, but his advisory board suggested him not to do any sin on arrival of new year. So to appease the public he shifted the date of celebrations two months before the actual date. Therefore Ladakh now celebrated the new year on the 1st day of the eleventh lunar month.

Celebrations of Losar
The sheer charm of Losar festivity steals the heart of every visitor. It is a kaleidoscope to the rich and vibrant culture of Ladakh. People celebrate the festival with great pomp and grandeur. The festive fervor begins one month in advance and people make lots of preparations for the festival. Losar features several rituals and customs, which are performed by the Buddhists during the celebrations.
Preparation of Losar Celebrations
Losar festival is synonym with dancing, music and merry-making. People are filled with joy and excitement on arrival of Losar. Local people clean their houses and gets them painted. After that they adorn their houses with beautiful decorative items to create a joyous atmosphere. Every house and holy shrine is illuminated with colorful lights in the evening itself. Images of Ibex are hanged on the doors and walls of the kitchen for good luck and prosperous life. Ibex is considered as symbol of fertility.

Procession During Losar
On the auspicious occasion of Losar, a huge procession, “Methi” is organized in the evening. The streets and bazaars of Ladakh turns out to be lively as the people walk through these streets bearing flaming torches and enchanting slogans. The procession ends with throwing of torches outside the town to bid farewell to old year and heartily welcome the new year.

Visit Monasteries
Ladakhi people wear new bright colored clothes and visit the holy shrines, stupas and monasteries to seek the blessing of Lord. They offer prayers and follows the tradition of 'Lama Losar' in which they give gifts to nuns and monks of the monastery. On this special occasion, people also exchange greetings by saying 'Tahsi Delek'.
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