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Gyalpo Losar

Gyalpo Losar – Main Festival of Sherpa People

Nepal is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic country squeezed between two Asian countries India & China. There are people of 125 different caste/ethnic group living in the country. Nepal, where you can find countless gods, goddesses & temples is also known as a land of festivals. A tourist finds popular festival each month while visiting Nepal. There are 3 kinds of losar celebrated by people here. They are Tamu Losar, Sonam Losar & Gyalpo losar. Losar is the festival that displays the tradition, culture & values of Buddhist & Tibetan community to the world. Gyalpo losar is the celebration of Tibetan New Year. The date of Gyalpo Losar falls in February each Year. In February people of Nepal, Tibet & other neighboring Asian countries begin preparations to celebrate the start of the New Year. The term Losar is derived from two words Lo, meaning year and Sar, meaning new. In Nepal, Losar is celebrated mostly by the Sherpa, Tibetan, Tamang, Bhutia & Yolmo people. The way of celebrating Losar varies according to different communities & different places. Today's Losar celebration last almost two weeks. The main celebration takes place during first three days. On the first-day beverage called "changkol" is made from "Chaang" (a Tibetan version of beer). The second day is the main new year day called Gyalpo Losar and on the third-day people get together & have feasts. Families prepare for Losar some days in advance by cleaning their homes; especially kitchen, decorating with fragrant flowers. Quarrels are resolved, new clothes are obtained, special foods such as Kapse (fried twists) are made. One of the most special dishes is soup called Gutung. The soup is prepared with a combination of nine different beans. Gutung is also served with dumplings, which contain different hidden items used in the place of filling. The hidden items are often strange, such as wood, coal or salt & are jokingly meant to relate to the character of the person they are chosen for. In the afternoon of the main day, people get together at stupa & monasteries wearing their traditional dress to continue the celebration. A traditional dance representing the battle between deer & king is performed. Mantras are chanted & fire torches are passed among all the people in the crowd. They donate gifts to the monks & mark the beginning of new year genially. Even though nowadays, due to western influence we are losing our traditional values, culture & rituals. But still, there are some youngsters who are putting their efforts to protect & preserve the culture. If you are in Nepal during the festival, you must surely observe the festival by visiting Boudhanath area, Swoyambhunath temple & other various monasteries situated in the country to know more closely about the culture of the local native people.