Bhutan - The Kingdom with Many New Year Celebrations

Email

If you are a Bhutanese or residence living in Bhutan, you will be fascinated to witness several traditions of celebrating New Year in the tiny Kingdom. Bhutanese celebrate Losar more than once in a year. Losar means New Year (Lo = Year, Sar = New). Different regions in Bhutan celebrate new year at different times of the year.

New Year aka Losar (as known in Bhutan) is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Since the astrological calendar is the same, Bhutanese follow the same tradition. However, the dates have since been adjusted to suit local sensibilities.

Losar is traditionally greeted with archery tournaments and other games. The locals consume a huge amount of alcohol and drown themselves in the revelry of their traditional hard liquor known as ara. Bhutanese also visit monasteries and temples to offer prayers to invoke the guardian deities during the new year.

Chunipai Losar

Chunipa Losar also called the 'traditional day of offering' falls on the first day of the 12th month of the Bhutanese calendar. On this day, representatives from all the regions in Bhutan provide ‘buelwa’ (Offerings) to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century at Punakha Dzong

The offerings is to express devotion and loyalty. Since then, the auspicious day was observed as a traditional day of offering. It is in essence the real Bhutanese New Year, chosen by Zhabdrung himself as it comes right after the harvests of the year. In the olden days, Chunipa Losar was celebrated for 15 days and is very popular amongst the Sharshops - in the eastern part of Bhutan.

Dawa Dangpa Losar

This losar has been popular since the 1960s under the influence of the many Tibetans who came to Bhutan during the late 1950s. The Dangpa Losar falls from mid to late February. The New Year is known as Gyalpoi Losar. 

Nyilo

Nyilo falls on the 17th day of the 11th Bhutanese calendar month. It is the new year for the people of Sha and Wang districts. Most of their celebrations are derived from Bonism, a religion that has its roots in ancient shamanistic rituals and animism. It is based on the solar calendar which is depended upon the position of the sun. It always coincides with the winter solstice and signifies the start of longer days.   

Lomba
Lomba is observed as the New Year by communities of Haa and Paro district valleys in Western Bhutan. It falls on the 29th day of the 9th lunar month in the Bhutanese calendar. The locals will celebrate Lomba for at least five days. During this special occasion, Bhutanese will make a special dumpling dish called ‘hontey’.

Lomba indicates the passing of the old year and the coming of the new year. Lomba is usually a family time filled with joy and display of prosperity to welcome a new prosperous year ahead. Lomba is also an opportunity for young people to have fun. On the evening of the 29th day of the lunar month, children go around the village shouting ‘Lolay, Lolay’. They sing Lolay Lolay until the owners come out and place a hontey in their baskets. Lo ley is a rhyme, which is the wish for a good New Year.

This year all the celebrations have taken a different approach due to the pandemic. Even the annual popular tsechus (masked dance festivals) were also performed closed door. Large public gatherings are restricted, pubs and nightclubs remain closed since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Bhutan in March this year.

Currently, with the second nationwide lockdown in place, everyone is stuck at home and hopefully, would be celebrating the new year from home with their loved ones.

We would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! Enjoy the delicious food and drinks.



Related Posts

Losar Tashi Delek - How The Bhutanese Celebrate The Year Of The...

According to the Bhutanese calendar, Losar falls on 25-26 January this year.

Jan 26, 2020 18:28

Second Lockdown in Bhutan - Is it going to get worse?

Earlier this morning at the first hour, the Office of Prime Minister announced on the social media page that the Thimphu...

Dec 20, 2020 18:34

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

The King of Bhutan regularly visits his people

The royals of Bhutan have an honourable legacy. Visiting their people is part of it.

Sep 25, 2022 16:35

Here is what you need to know about tailoring in Bhutan

Bhutan continues to train tailors in both traditional Bhutanese tailoring and western dressmaking.

Aug 28, 2022 21:56

There is a love for chess in Bhutan

The Bhutanese chess team showed impressive results at the recent Chess Olympiad.

Aug 18, 2022 22:17

Latest

News

Bhutan to host the world’s toughest race

The race will cover a distance of 222 kilometres through difficult terrain, majestic mountains, and lofty glaciers.

Aug 29, 2022 22:08

New Riverside Market opens in Thimphu

As the old centenary farmers market undergoes its much-awaited renovations, the vendors of the first floor have now set up shop at the new...

Aug 15, 2022 18:04

Features

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

The King of Bhutan regularly visits his people

The royals of Bhutan have an honourable legacy. Visiting their people is part of it.

Sep 25, 2022 16:35

Business

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular in Bhutan

Even though the Internet was developed in the 1960s, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was only introduced to it in June 1999.

Jan 20, 2022 12:41

Sports

More Bhutanese youths are engaged in football

Sitting at the 186th position in the FIFA rankings, Bhutan looks to improve its rankings in the years to come.

Aug 03, 2022 20:19

BOB Bhutan Premier League is coming back soon with a bang

There’s an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation growing in the valleys of Bhutan as football fans in the country await what appears to...

Jul 24, 2022 14:47

Travel

What you need to know about birdwatching in Bhutan

The best seasons and locations for birdwatching in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Sep 25, 2022 16:57

Bhutan revises its tourism policy to redefine High Value Low Volume tourism

Visitors to Bhutan will now have to pay more than triple the previous Sustainable Development Fees (SDF).

Jul 20, 2022 21:44

Lifestyle

Chillies, a spicy affair in Bhutan

The Bhutanese love it hot.

Jun 07, 2022 23:55

Bhutan is traditionally a matriarchal society

Women are the decision-makers at home, but something is keeping them from public life.

May 27, 2022 22:14

COVID-19

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!