Situated in the west of China, Tibet attracts thousands of tourists from home and abroad. As is known to us, the natural scenery in Tibet is stunning and attractive. But for me, the traditional cultures and customs in Tibet attract me a lot, compared with other highlights. While the best way to know much about the local Tibetan culture is to travel to Tibet during the celebration of Tibetan festivals. There are numerous interesting festivals held in Tibet, such as Tibetan New Year, Shoton Festival, Saga Dawa Festival, Tsongkhapa Butter Lamp Festival, Ngachen Chenmo Festival, and so on. Among the numerous festivals in Tibet, Tibet New Year is the most important one.
Tibet New Year, also known as Losar Festival, is to Tibetans what Christmas is to Westerns. The origination of the Tibet New Year can date back to hundreds of years’ ago. Tibetans focus on agriculture from the ancient time to the present. They stay a close relationship with nature. The main crop in Tibet is the barley. In order to celebrate the harvest of this crop, Tibetans decided to take the ripe time as the beginning of a New Year. According to the traditional Tibetan Lunar Calendar, Tibetan New Year starts from on the first day of the first month. It always lasts eighteen days. The first three days are the most important. The main activities during the three days are doing kora, hanging Tibetan prayer flags, enjoying traditional dances and songs, and so on. It is the right time for friends and relatives to gather together and reunion. During those days, diverse and traditional food such as Dresi, Kabsay, Guthuk, kinds of meat and drinks will be placed on the tables. It is the best time for travelers to get close to local Tibetans and traditional cultures. You must enjoy a grand visual feast which you never saw in Tibet.
The preparation of the celebration of Tibetan New Year always starts one month early. All Tibetans will do house cleaning, buy new clothes, and prepare delicious food in advance. The houses, temples, and monasteries are decorated with colorful prayer flags and auspicious symbols. When the day arrives, they begin their fantastic carnival.
According to the customs, Tibetans should take a bath in the early morning. Then, they will take on their new clothes and set out to take praying. A food called Torma offered on the shine is regarded as the auspicious one. In the daytime, the family member will gather together and enjoy a pleasant dinner. What’s more, sending gifts is one of the traditional rites. Kapse and Chang are two must-food on the table.
The main activity on the second day is to visit friends and relatives. Tibetans will take some traditional food and items as gifts when visiting relatives. Then, the host will invite them to their house to enjoy the delicious food and drinks.
On the third day, Tibetans will head to temples and monasteries to do the prayer for the new year. Besides that, they will hand prayer flags on the roofs and mountains.
The last fifteen days will be celebrated with other local festivals such as Chunga Choepa and Butter Lamp Festival.