Ghyalpo Losar (Tibetan New Year)

Ghyalpo Losar is known for the revelry that takes place with people dousing each other with water and color.

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Ghyalpo Losar, or “Tibetan New Year,” begins near the end of the year on the Tibetan Calendar and continues for some two weeks. But the first three days of this prolonged celebration are most important. The holiday is not only celebrated in Tibet but also among the people in neighbouring Nepal.

On the first day of celebrations, much “chhaang,” a Tibetan beer, is consumed. Day two is Ghyalpo Losar proper and is the main event. Day three is a day of parties and feasting.

During this time, there will be traditional dance performances at monasteries across Nepal, the dances symbolising various myths and legends. One dance is the battle between a deer and a king, another between a demon and a “god.”

Just before New Year’s Day, everyone cleans out their houses, including the chimney. Festive foods are prepared as well. Soups with meat, vegetables, rice, and noodles are especially important. Dumplings in the soup may hide unusual items, which are used to describe the one who finds them. A piece of wood in your dumpling, for example, means you have a wooden heart.