New Year 'Losar' celebrated in Ladakh

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Leh (Ladakh), Dec 19 (ANI): The people of Ladakh celebrated their New Year 'Losar' on Thursday (December 17) with fervor and zeal.

The Losar Ladakhi New Year festival dates back to the 17th century, when King Jamyang Namgyal decided to lead an expedition against the Balti forces during the winter season King Jamyang Namgyal was advised that any expedition before the New Year would be ill fated.

Namgyal decided to advance the New Year celebrations by two months, and since then a tradition has been followed of celebrating Losar on the first day of the eleventh month every year.

Losar is the most complicated of all the socio-religious events of Ladakh. It involves the entire population of the region. The rites and rituals are a mixture of Buddhist and the pre-Buddhist Bon religious practices.

"Ladakhi Losar is one week long and today is the main day of Losar. Eatables are prepared in homes and people visit each other's homes to wish them," said Tsewang Namgyal, secretary, Ladakh Buddhist Association.

Preparations start by the end of the harvest period when people start stocking provisions, sheep and goats for the customary feasts as well as grain for brewing 'chhang' (a local barley beer).

"On this day we decorate our monasteries and homes. We greet our elders and go to our relatives homes and wish them good luck," said Sonam Sopari, a local.

The New Year Day celebration starts with offerings to various gods and greetings to elders, relatives and friends. (ANI)

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