Losar is the traditional Tibetan New Year festival, celebrated by the Tibetan people and communities in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and other regions with a significant Tibetan population. The festival is usually celebrated in the months of February or March and marks the start of the lunar Tibetan calendar. This year the festival starts from 19th Feb and will last till 5th March. It is believed that it falls on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan lunisolar calendar. It is said to be a very old practice, local Buddhists also celebrate it to mark the hard work of the farmer. According to legend, the Losar Festival began as a winter ritual in antiquity. To appease the local gods during that time, the locals burn a lot of incense. Buddhists believe that participating in the Losar Festival drives evil spirits away.
The main location for the festivities is in Gangtok, along with other areas of the state including Pelling, Yuksom, and Lachen. Rumtek and Phodong Monasteries are the main Losar celebration sites. Other areas celebrating Losar in India include Leh-Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, and Himachal Pradesh.
People gather together, clean their houses, give gifts to the monks, eat noodles and enjoy chanting, dancing and music at the monastery. In short, it’s a kind of happy family reunion.
There are various events that take place during this time, some of them are Losar torch light procession, Losar Tsechu, Losar market visit, food and culture festival.