Losar Tashi Delek - How The Bhutanese Celebrate The Year Of The Male Iron Rat


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

(Source: Facebook/Friends of Bhutan Travel)

By Zann Huizhen Huang | Daily Bhutan

Losar or ‘New Year’ in Bhutan falls on 25-26 January this year, based on the Bhutanese calendar. It is also the year of the Male Iron Rat.

Celebrations actually begin on the eve of Losar, known as the ‘Nyi Shu Gu’ and the duration of Losar is two weeks. However, most of the festivities take place on the first three days.

Brief origins of Losar in Bhutan

Losar predates the arrival of Buddhism in Bhutan and has its roots in a winter incense burning custom of the Bon religion.

However, during the reign of Pude Gungyal (617-698), the 9th Tibetan King, it was believed that Losar originated from a harvest festival.

Today, Losar is not only a time of family reunion but also a great opportunity for tourists visiting Bhutan, as they get to witness one of the most fascinating culture and tradition in the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Source: Youtube/Paaaw 

Like many other countries in Asia, such as China, South Korea and Vietnam, the Bhutanese start preparing for the upcoming Losar by spring cleaning their homes, and replacing some old furnishings with new ones.

Delicious Losar goodies

It is also that time of the year to try delectable Bhutanese staple dishes such as stews, ema datshi (chilli cheese), Bhutanese red rice and sweets such as fried biscuits and ‘shudre’.

Fruits are also eaten as according to the locals, sugarcane and green bananas symbolise good fortune for the rest of the year.

A must-try during Losar is 'paneer thukpa', a creamy soup made using cheese.

Source: Youtube/The Druk Girl

Another interesting snack to try is dough balls with a little surprise hidden inside.

If one finds chilli pepper, it signifies that one is talkative but if salt or rice is found in the dough ball, it means that one is kind-hearted.

However, if one finds coal inside, it suggests that one is hopeless like a black hole.

Other activities to look forward to during Losar

Besides preparing these special dishes, the Bhutanese also make offerings called ‘Lama Losar’ at the llakhangs (temples).

The temples and monasteries will be lavishly decorated and rituals called ‘puja’ are conducted for Losar.

If the weather permits, Bhutanese families will head outdoors for picnics where they will feast, dance and sing together.

A popular place to head to is the Punakha Dzong (Monastery) during Losar, which sits majestically at the confluence of two pristine rivers – the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu.

Photo: Druk Asia

One can also catch the Bhutanese playing their favourite games such as darts and archery, the national sport.

Greetings of ‘Losar Tashi Delek’ which means 'good luck for the New Year' will be exchanged amongst friends and families and if any foreign visitors could arrange their trip to Bhutan during this special occasion, it will indeed be a memorable experience.

Related Posts

Be Awe-Inspired By The ‘Dance Of The Terrifying Gods’ And More At...

Held from 19 to 21 Sept 2018, the annual Thimphu Tshechu (festival) is a vibrant visual feast for both locals and...

Sep 12, 2018 20:45

Be Thrilled By Adrenaline-Pumping Dance Moves At The Dochula...

The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo as a tribute to His...

Nov 20, 2018 17:05

There is a yeti preserve in Bhutan that is bigger than the size...

Wondering whether there are yetis in Bhutan? There is even a corpse!

Oct 21, 2021 11:22

Bhutan is home to one of the most expensive mushrooms in the...

There is even a festival for it, known as the Matsutake Mushroom Festival. There, you’ll get to sample various dishes...

Sep 24, 2021 16:10

Guru Rinpoche, the legendary saint who spread Buddhism in Bhutan

He was born from a lotus, fully enlightened. He went on to become the patron saint of Bhutan and established the Nyingma...

Sep 17, 2021 13:28

Atsara: the Bhutanese clowns who are not just clowns

On top of being clowns, they are also storytellers, spiritual teachers, and the master of ceremony. The bright red mask...

Aug 25, 2021 14:09



Visitors can look forward to a brand new experience at Paro International Airport

Bhutan's Paro International Airport was given a major facelift.

Oct 18, 2021 16:35

Bhutan is tapping into solar energy with its first grid-tied solar power plant

Electricity in Bhutan is mostly generated from hydropower, a renewable energy source, unlike fossil-fuel driven power plants that are major...

Oct 05, 2021 16:17


There is a yeti preserve in Bhutan that is bigger than the size of Singapore

Wondering whether there are yetis in Bhutan? There is even a corpse!

Oct 21, 2021 11:22

Bhutan is home to one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world

There is even a festival for it, known as the Matsutake Mushroom Festival. There, you’ll get to sample various dishes prepared with this...

Sep 24, 2021 16:10


Yathra weaving, the uniquely Bumthang culture

Unlike other places in Bhutan, the people of Bumthang don’t do agricultural work. Instead, they weave yathra products. Traditionally, every...

Sep 13, 2021 17:06

What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37


Paro FC reclaimed its champion title for BoB Bhutan Premier League 2021

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) Bhutan Premier League 2021, previously known as Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top football tournament in Bhutan...

Oct 02, 2021 19:57

Bhutan makes its debut appearance at the Paralympic Games

There is much to celebrate in the sporting history of Bhutan.

Aug 16, 2021 11:50


Travel to Bhutan: experience the beauty of Punakha

Punakha district is easily one of the tourists' favourite valleys.

Sep 07, 2021 15:44

How should I dress in Bhutan?

About to head to Bhutan for the adventure of your lifetime but don’t know what to pack? Fret not. Here’s a guide of useful clothing items to...

Sep 06, 2021 11:49


Things to avoid based on the day of the twelve Buddhist zodiac animals

“La Za” “Sog Za” and “She’ Za” are Good Day, Soul Day and Bad Day respectively.

Oct 26, 2021 12:07

How to make your own ema datshi (chilli cheese) in 10 minutes

You can make your chilli cheese as spicy as you wish.

Oct 25, 2021 11:26


Bhutan is leading in the vaccination race

“Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated families." - Dr Will...

Jul 28, 2021 12:01

Bhutan, with a leading vaccination rate in the region, commenced its second vaccination drive

Bhutan's second nationwide vaccination campaign will be held from July 20 - July 26, 2021.

Jul 21, 2021 11:05

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!