TRAS sends Losar greetings to all our members. At this time of year we think of all our Tibetan friends here in Canada, those who have been here awhile and especially this year the newly arrived Tibetans from Arunachal Pradesh. We also think of their compatriots, spread around the world and in their homeland, and wish them well. We received this lovely description of Losar from Karma Tensum, of the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation in Montana, with whom we partner with to support Lama Paljor and his hostel and school for children from the remote villages of Sikkim.
“The Tibetan word LOSAR literally translates ‘New Year’. So Losar is the Tibetan New Year. Calculated according to the Lunar calendar, it falls on different dates, mostly in February. Losar this year is on March 2, 2014. It will be the first day of the Wood Horse Year 2041 according to the Tibetan calendar!
Many of the festivals in the Tibetan culture centre on the Buddhist religion that is so central to Tibetan lives. Losar is by far the biggest non-religious festival. People celebrate Losar to leave behind the obstacles and negativities of the past year and to embrace the new year with rituals of abundance and auspiciousness.
Two days before Losar, there is a ritual to remove the negativities of the past year. In the Tibetan community at Clement Town, N India, where my family lived for many years, the community would flock to the Nyingmapa Monastery. The Rinpoche and monks after accumulating many prayers, do an annual Black Hat Cham or sacred dance that culminates in burning of tormas to symbolize the removal of all negativities.
Losar for Tibetans is a time for happiness with friends and family. (It is for the Tibetans what Thanksgiving is to people here in Canada.)
Family reunions, marriages, school vacations, pilgrimages and business ventures are all planned taking Losar dates into consideration. In India, the majority of Tibetans make a living as roadside hawkers, traveling to far away cities to make a livelihood selling sweaters, warm garments and gift items. Almost all of them will wrap up their business, making sure to get home with adequate time for Losar preparations.
For older Tibetans, Losar will be like a collective birthday celebration. In the past, most Tibetans did not keep track of or celebrate their birthdays. Everyone just added a year to their age at Losar.
Finally, for Tibetans, Losar is also a time for prayers and ceremonies to usher abundance, prosperity and good health in the lives of our loved ones.
For being in the lives of the Tibetan children through TRAS, for all your love and support to the Tibetans, we send those prayers to each one of you.
HAPPY LOSAR 2014. MAY THE NEW WOOD HORSE YEAR BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS IN YOUR LIVES