Sonam Lhosar: The Tamang New Year

Tamang New Year is a great opportunity for family and friends to get together and celebrate. It is to forget the bygone troubles and have a fresh start.

20, Jan 2023 |

Sonam Lhosar heralds a new year for the Tamangs. They celebrate it with gusto.

Sonam Lhosar is the Tamang community’s New Year in Nepal. The word ‘Lhosar’ denotes ‘New Year’ or ‘the beginning of a new era’. Tamangs are a Nepalese ethnic group that mostly inhabit the central highlands. The group, which accounts for around 8% of Nepal’s population, is noted for its distinctive traditions. Tamang actually means ‘horse merchants’. Though the origins of the name are unknown, it is supposed that the inhabitants were involved in horse trade or riding. Members of the community have been relocated to many parts of the world, including India and Burma, over time.

The Tamangs have different customs than other Nepalese, and they are said to use a lunar calendar that is either Tibetan or Chinese in origin. Because of this, their New Year typically coincides with the second new moon following the winter solstice. Tamangs also have a custom of marking the years by assigning an animal to each year. Among them are rat, pig, monkey, snake, and several other creatures.

The Tamangs mark the new year in style every year, and celebrations typically extend for nearly a week. To prepare for the new year, they clean and decorate their homes throughout the month. It's similar to starting anew in a manner. Other customs of the occasion include dancing while wearing masks, visiting temples and stupas, and performing rituals to ward off evil.

The delicacies like pork, chicken, mutton, and desserts are eaten on the occasion of Sonam Lhosar. Also, the Tamang Selo (folk song) and the Damfu (musical instrument) are used to play traditional Tamang tunes. Tamang people participate in many forms of cultural events, wear their traditional clothing and jewellery, and greet one another. Sonam Lhosar also unites individuals from various groups within the Tamang communities and brings forth a great deal of joy and happiness.

Tamangs prepare Pani Roti, a traditional dish that is a type of boiled bread, on the Lhosar eve. They invite a priest to their home for a few rites on Lhosar, and then plan and join the cultural events.

People congregate in Tudikhel to celebrate Lhosar every year with food and music, and have lots of fun.


Compiled By: Rebika Bishokarma

Also Read:

Sonam Lhosar Celebrated Today

“Lhosar Anshimala” – Happy New Year

Lhosar:  The Ethnic Nepali New Year

'Tashi Delek' - Gyalpo Lhosar

In Frames: Tamu Lhosar Celebration

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