Gyalpo Lhosar: The Sherpa New Year

Despite the fact that Gyalpo Lhosar lasts for two weeks, the majority of the events take place in the first three days.

20, Feb 2023 |

Even if some traditional practices have been updated for modern times and for people’s hectic schedules, the delight, joy, and the soul of Lhosar have remained unaltered.

Gyalpo Lhosar, also known as the Tibetan New Year, is a Nepalese celebration observed by the Sherpa, Hyolmo, and Bhotiya people. This festival is observed in many ways, each according to their own traditions. Gyalpo Lhosar is celebrated for two weeks, with the first three days being the most significant. The second of these three days is the most important for commemorating it. 

Each year is represented by an animal. There are twelve animals in their calendar, one for each year, and the cycle of twelve years repeats. This year is the year of Water Hare. Water Hare is a symbol of peace, longevity and prosperity.

Changkol is produced on the first day. Gyalpo Lhosar’s main day is the second day where they dance, sing, wear their traditional dresses and party. People gather and feast on the third day.

The current Lhosar celebrations, which occur during the second half of the lunar cycle from Falgun Shukla Pratipada (the waxing moon to the full moon), last for around two weeks. The festivities focus on food, family, and pleasure. Lhosar traditionally begins with people making a specific Sherpa delicacy called Khapsay, a deep fried confection, signifying the start of the holiday celebrations.

Everyone in a Sherpa home gathers two days before Lhosar and eats Guthuk, a delectable soup cooked from a combination of nine different kinds of beans. Each member of the family should be fed nine bowls of this soup, according to custom. Guthuk is also eaten with a peculiar type of dumpling that consists of numerous hidden objects in place of filings. These secret objects, which may include wood, salt, or even coal, are typically chosen in jest to represent the recipient’s personality.

The day before Lhosar, families gather to clean and decorate their homes. At midnight, they exchange their traditional greeting, "Tashi Delek''. Friends and family stay up late to wish each other a happy new year. Many Sherpas change their Dhoja or prayer flags, in their homes the next morning to mark the start of a new year. The day concludes with Changkol, a special alcoholic beverage produced from Chyaang, a Tibetan version of beer. Traditional Sherpa music is played while eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

In the afternoon, people gather to continue the celebrations. A variety of traditional rituals and dances representing the fight between demons and gods are performed at the nearby monasteries. Mantras are repeated as fire torches are carried among the audience. Lhosar is typically a celebration that youngsters like the most as they get to play and socialise with their cousins and have delicious food, sweets, and gifts.

Dinner with loved ones and family in the evening symbolises the beginning of a new year and concludes the festivities.

Celebrate this festival and spend quality time with your family and friends.

Tashi Delek!

Compiled By: Rebika Bishokarma

Photos By: NTB

Also Read: 

'Tashi Delek' - Gyalpo Lhosar

Delicacies Of Gyalpo Lhosar

Sonam Lhosar - The Festival Of Tamang Community

Chaurchan - Moon Festival

Jitiya – A Festival Of Women

Gaura The Festival Of The Far-West

Udhauli Parva: A Celebration Of Nature’s Blessings

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