Losar Festival of Ladakh - UPSC Art & Culture Notes

Ladakh’s Losar festival, also known as Tibetan New Year, is a religious celebration. Tibetan Buddhists are the ones that celebrate it the most. It is observed for a period of 15 days. It all begins with the Tibetan New Year. They adhere to the lunar calendar. The centuries-old custom of Losar celebrations continues to foster communal bonds and provide joy to the people of Ladakh, a landlocked Himalayan Union Territory of India. It corresponds to a Gregorian calendar date in the month of February or March.

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About Losar Festival of Ladakh

Music performances, traditional dances, special prayers, and gift exchanges are all part of the celebration. Evening processions known as METHO are held during Losar. Metho is sold on the streets, in alleyways, and in marketplaces. People hold burning torches and yell slogans during Metho. Buddhist gods are treated to special delicacies that are prepared and presented to them. Cleaning the house, eliminating undesirable and useless items, and dumping outdated materials are all part of the six-week celebration. This is done to ward off the house’s bad omens. The wicked spirits are forced out into the streets during this operation. After that, the Metho procession drives them out of town or hamlet.

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Metho Ceremony

The Metho ceremony’s chanting and sacred fire torch are said to cleanse the spirits. It wards off evil spirits in the community and makes room for the Holy Spirit to come in. Metho clears the negativity that has built up in the community over the course of the year.

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History behind Losar Celebration

Tibet is where the Losar celebration commenced. It was developed in the pre-Buddhist era, during the 4th century AD. The Bon religion practises the burning of incense. When Lord Buddha arrived in Tibet, this ritual was combined with the harvest celebration, and the Losar festival was born. This occurred during Pude Gungyal’s tenure as the ninth Tibetan ruler.

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Losar in Other Regions

  • The festival is also celebrated in the state of Arunachal Pradesh with very slight variations but on the same day.
  • Losar festival is celebrated in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet on different dates with some variations.

Losar Festival – UPSC Notes-Download PDF Here

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