West Kameng, Tawang celebrate Losar

[ Prem Chetry ]

BOMDILA/TAWANG, 10 Feb: Marking the beginning of the Wood Dragon Year 2151, the 15-day Losar celebration has begun at different monasteries in West Kameng and Tawang on Saturday.

The word ‘Lo’ stands for year, and ‘sar’ signifies newness (New Year). The first day of Losar, known as Lamay Losar, is dedicated to spiritual leaders and gurus. On this day, people visit monasteries to seek blessings from the rinpoches, tulkus, and heads of monasteries.

The second day of the festival, known as Gyalpo Losar, is dedicated to kings, and literally means King’s Losar. The third day of the festival is celebrated by the people.

In Bomdila, hundreds of people thronged the Thuchog Gatsel Ling (TGL) and the Gontse Gaden Rabgye Ling monasteries to seek blessings, and offered prayers for longevity and prosperity. The 12th Guru Tulku Rinpoche of TGL monastery initiated special prayers for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.

At the Tawang monastery, as per the monastic tradition, a horse, which is the symbolic ride of the monastery’s supreme deity, Palden Lhamo, was adorned and led around the monastery thrice early on Saturday morning. Hundreds of people gathered at the monastery and sought blessings from Abbot Sheling Rinpoche, who initiated the rituals at dawn.

As per the lunar calendar, 2151 is called the Wood Dragon Year. Astrologically, there are five elements – wood, iron, water, fire, and earth – and each element lasts for two consecutive years.

On the other hand, there are 12 zodiac signs – rat, pig, dog, rooster, monkey, sheep, horse, snake, dragon, rabbit, tiger, and ox – and each zodiac sign lasts for a year.

The people prepare varieties of cuisines at home during the festival, such as special noodles called putang, besides dumplings, non-vegetarian food, chang-gu, and marching, and local wines are served. However, on the first day, the people do not visit other houses, in the belief that, whether rich or poor, one must be content with what one has.