Bhutan's Time-Honored Tradition: Exploring the Nyilo Season and the Lolay Ritual

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Approximately 750 children recently took part in the traditional practice known as "lolay" in Bhutan, marking the beginning of the Nyilo season around Thimphu over the course of Jan 1 and 2.

(Source: Kuensel)

This age-old custom, primarily observed in the western region, serves as a celebration to welcome the new year.

The Bhutanese calendar recognizes Nyilo as the day when the duration of daylight starts to increase, signaling the approach of longer days leading up to the summer solstice. The participating children were organized into groups at 11 different locations spanning from Pangrizampa to Chamgang in Thimphu.

The Zhung Dratshang, in collaboration with the Desuung Nangchoe Programme, actively supports the tradition of children reciting lolay. This month-long orientation and training program, conducted annually since 2016, focuses on imparting knowledge about Buddhism and Bhutanese culture.

Drungtsho Tandin, the program coordinator, emphasized that the children not only learn how to recite lolay but also receive education in religious studies, prayers, yoga, and even basic cooking skills. This year, the children collectively earned around Nu 6,00,000 through their participation. Half of this sum will be distributed among the children, while the other half will be used to provide for their needs until the program concludes.

Among the participants, eight-year-old Zumsel Tshering Chophel, who has been involved in the program for three years, expressed delight in being a part of such a long-standing tradition. Meanwhile, Karma Jurme Drakpa, a 13-year-old newcomer to the program, expressed pride in contributing to the preservation of this ancient tradition among children and expressed a desire to participate in it every year going forward.

The program, which commenced on December 25, is scheduled to conclude on January 25.



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