Losar, the Tibetian New Year was celebrated in Dharamshala / Palampur area on February 14, 2010. On the traditional Tibetan calendar it was 2136 being bid a fond farewell and 2137 being greeted.
The Tibetan calendar is based on a lunar cycle of 60 years. It consists of 12 animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Donkey, Bird, Dog and Hog), which are then combined with the 5 elements (water, wood, fire, earth and iron) and two aspects (male and female).
I was fortunate enough to visit the Sherab Ling monastery, 8 km from Palampur and meet His Excellency Tai Situ Rinpoche during Losar festivities.
Presenting pictures of the Mahakaal puja, performed 2 days before Losar. It signifies the death of all evil, depicted in the dance by the energetic dance of the ox killing the evil. The central character is the most physically fit monk chosen from 4 of the fittest monks who are specially trained for this dance for a year. It was QUITE a rigorous workout, I must say!
This dance also signifies the end of winter and beginning of spring. The dances begin 2 days before Losar and continue up to Losar, which is then celebrated by exchanging gifts, offerings to the Gods, and celebrations continue for a week. A part of the characters in the Mahakaal puja dance were also the “Dashavatar” — all this is very similar to the Hindu philosophy and rituals but much more spectacular because of their costumes, music and chanting.
Losar Tashi Delek!
(Happy Tibetan New Year)
His Excellency Tai Situ Rinpoche
Sherab Ling Monastery near Palampur