Losar being celebrated at Mcleodganj

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Dharamshala, Feb 7 (UNI) Preparations with great fanfare are being made for celebration of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, here in Dharamshala.

The cold wave like conditions and continuous rains for the last two days has not dampened the enthusiasm of the Tibetans here. They continue to keep themselves busy with the purchases and decorating their house to welcome the new year. Tibetans here were on a shopping spree, preparing for the whole gamut of rituals and customs of New Year celebrations, beginning 7 February.

According to the Tibetans here the celebration of Losar can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist period in Tibet. From a ceremony to propitiate ''spirits, deities and protectors'', Losar celebration has gradually evolved into an annual Buddhist festival.

According to Tsepak Rigzin, the author of ''The Festivals of Tibet'', The festival is said to have begun when an elderly woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon.That celebration, which coincided with the flowering of the apricot trees of the Lhokha region in autumn, could have been the first of what became the traditional farmers' festival.

He said that historically, there were three major traditions for the celebration of Losar. While one tradition celebrated Losar on the first day of the 11th month, another celebrated on the first day of the 12th month. According to a third, that is the system of the 13th century Lama Drogon Choegyal Phagpa, the first day of the first lunar month is celebrated as Losar.

Apart from these three, a host of other traditions celebrated Losar at various times, corresponding to the local harvest seasons and customs--In some parts, Losar is said to be celebrated twice a year! However, in the course of history, the Losar celebrated on the first day of the first lunar month became the standard practice--at least at the official level.

Mcleodganj was illuminated and beautified on the eve of Losar and tomorrow the day would start with a Pooja in the main Tibetan Temple which would be attended by the Tibetan Spiritual learder and temporal head Dalai Lama too. Tibetans from all over the country and abroad were thronging this hill town today to celebrate Losar here tomorrow.

Buddhist followers from different Western countries have also arrived here in connection with the festival UNI XC AS HS0958

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