The celebration of of Tibetan New year known as Losar in Tibetan predates Buddhism in Tibet and can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist Bön period. In this early Bön tradition, every winter a spiritual ceremony was held, in which people offered large quantities of incense to appease the local spirits, deities and 'protectors' (Tibetan: chos skyong; Sanskrit: dharmapalas). This religious festival later evolved into an annual Buddhist festival which is believed to have originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth King of Tibet. The festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. The Tibetan New Year festival took place during the flowering of the apricot trees in autumn in the Lhokha Yarla Shampo region and Kongpo or Nyingtri in the eastern forest region of Tibet, and it may have been the first celebration of what has become the traditional farmers' festival. It was during this period that the arts of cultivation, irrigation, refining iron from ore and building bridges were first introduced in Tibet. The ceremonies which were instituted to celebrate these new capabilities can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. Later when the rudiments of astrology, based on the five elements, were introduced in Tibet, this farmer's festival became what we now call the Losar or New Year's festival.
The Tibetan New Year or Losar is also known as Bal Gyal Lo. Bal is Tibet, Gyal is King, Lo is year. The Tibetan New Year has been celebrated since the first King's enthronement celebration. It was started with the first King. That was why it has been known as Bal Gyal Lo.
Tibet Tibetan New Year or Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days. On the first day of Losar, a beverage called Changkol is made from Chhaang (a Tibetan cousin of beer). The second day of Losar is known as King's Losar (gyalpo losar). Losar is traditionally preceded by the five day practice of Vajrakilaya. Because the Uyghurs adopted the Chinese calendar, and the Mongols and Tibetans adopted the Uyghur calendar, Losar occurs near or on the same day as the Chinese New Year and the Mongolian New Year, but the traditions of Losar are unique to Tibet, and predates both Indian and Chinese influences. Originally, ancient celebrations of Losar occurred solely on the winter solstice, and was only moved to coincide with the Chinese and Mongolian New Year by a leader of the Gelug school of Buddhism.
The Tibetan New Year or Losar is also celebrated by Yolmo, Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, and Bhutia, although different regions in the country have their own respective new year. Losar is also celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists Worldwide.
The Tibetan new year is one of the biggest and richest Losar festivals in the world and it is celebrated in different months in different regions such as Tsang Losar known as agriculture Losar, celebrated in the 12th month of Lunar month, Kongpo Losar, also celebrated in the 12th months of Lunar month. Nevertheless the most well-known Losar is the King Losar which is very widely celebrated throughout Tibet.
The Tibetan New Year is colorful festival days with many traditional activities. Family members gather together in their parents home and celebrate Losar by dressing in their finest clothes. There are many activities in every town including horse racing, folk dancing and songs, body wrestling, rock lifting competitions and many other religious activities.
Lhasa is the best place to be. during Losar. There are many religious activities, and family parties. Pilgrims throng to the Jokang, Drepung, Sera and Neichung temples making incense and butter lamp offerings. During Losar, you can see full of Tibetans pilgrims go to Jokang temple, Potala etc in their beautiful traditional clothes.
|Days||Trip Outline||Daily Activity||Accommodation||Guide & Driver||Meal|
|Gongkar airport, airport tunnel, Bharmaputra river, Kyichu river, Lhasa city.||Hotel in Lhasa||Local Tibetan||BB|
|02||Sightseeing tour in Lhasa-Tibetan New Year Festival||Visit Potala Palace, Jokang temple, Bharkor-have dinner in a Tibetan family||Hotel in Lhasa||Local Tibetan||BB|
|03||Sightseeing tour in Lhasa-Tibetan New Year Festival||Visit Drepung and Sera monasteries-thousands of Tibetan pilgrims in beautiful traditional dress-monastery ceremony||Hotel in Lhasa||Local Tibetan||BB|
|04||Lhasa to Ganden monastery-Tibetan farmer;s family visit-Lhasa||Visit Ganden monastery-Tibetan farmers family visit and lunch with them during Tibetan New Year||Hotel in Lhasa||Local Tibetan||BB|
|05||Lhasa to Tsetang (3600m/180km)||Visit Samye monastery-thousand of pilgrims-monastery ceremony and ritual-Tsetang-Yumbu Lhakang and Traduk temple||Hotel in Tsetang||Local Tibetan||BB|
|06||Tsetang to Gyantse (3950m/340km)||Yamdrok lake-Karola glacier-Gyantse-Tibetan New Year Festival with a Tibetan family visit on the way||Hotel in Gyantse||Local Tibetan||BB|
|07||Gyantse to Shigatse (3900m/90km)||Visit Palchoe monastery and Kubum in Gyantse, thousand of Pilgrims and monastery ceremony and ritual for Losar-Shigatse||Hotel in Shigatse||Local Tibetan||BB|
|08||Shigatse to Lhasa (3650m/280km)||Visit Tashi Lhunpo monastery-thousand of pilgrims and monastery ceremony-Barhmaputra-Lhasa||Hotel in Lhasa||Local Tibetan||BB|
|09||Drive to Lhasa Gongkar airport.(3600Mts/ 60Km )||Lhasa holy city-Kyichu valley-Barhmaputra-Lhasa airport|