Lho means year or age and Sar means new or fresh. The word Lhosar means New Year or beginning of new era. Buddhist celebrate their new year on the first day of the new moon or in other words the very next day after the no-moon day of the month of Magh (Feb). One of the traditions during Lhosar is that every family member thoroughly cleans their house to sweep away any bad fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck.
I was myself lucky, as I was here for Lhosar 2016, starting on the 7th Feb, where celebrations lasted for up to 2 weeks. As I was staying in the lovely Dondrub Guest House hotel, which is the only guest house the area of Bouddah attach to a nunnery, I was invited to the nunnery for the main celebration on the 9th Feb, attending the early pujas, trying to follow the English version of their prayers (pujas) while having “sweet rice and raising” with milk tea at 6 am (tried my best, but couldn’t managed rice that early in the morning). Next stop was having more milk tea and sweet rice, with the children at Tashi School, it is an orphanage opposite to the hotel, and looking at the kids singing, wearing their best clothes and happily eating their sweet rice, deeply touched me for the rest of the day.
I truly enjoyed my first Lhosar, the ambiance in this Tibetan part of town was incredible, lots of rituals in all monasteries around the area, people wearing their new dresses and the main Stupa crowded than ever, with people offerings and going around doing kuoras (by now I hope I had accumulated enough good karma, as I had been around the stupa hundred times since staying in Kathmandu!).
This pic shows the nuns throwing “chappa” (fried wheat powder) as they offer prayers for the New Year, in front of their monastery – it is a Tibetan tradition- however, some of the nuns are also from Nepal and Bhutan. The oldest nun is 80 and the youngest one is only 8, but all of them were truly enjoying the day.