Sunday, February 10, 2008

Three-day Losar celebration underway

With rest of the world, Sera-Jhe Dor-Phen-Ling Gonpa (monastery) at Chanmari, Gangtok celebrated the first day Tibetan’s New Year, Losar on January 7 by conducting a mass Puja inviting the general public and offering prayers to God and Guru. More than 200 devotees visited the Gonpa to offer prayers for peace, happiness and tranquility of the Sikkimese people and the whole world and lighted Sanghs (religious candle). On the occasion, Prasads, foods and sweets, were distributed to the people at the Gonpa.
Losar (Lho means new and Sar means year) falls on February 7 according to Lunar Calendar and it is celebrated by the Tibetans for three days from February 7 to 9, which are considered the most significant days for celebration of the festival, informed Geshe Sherap Chungbel, General Secretary of the Gonpa. It is celebrated to bring peace, happiness and tranquility amongst the people and to eliminate their sorrow, pain, poverty and diseases, “It is a fundamental festival of Tibetans when they wear new cloths, feast with good and delicious foods with their friends and families and make wishes to God for themselves and for others”, the GS said. On the first day (February 7) celebration, which is called Lama Losar or Guru Losar, people visit monasteries after conducting Puja at their homes to offer prayers to their Guru and to receive blessings from him. “On this day, people try to get the early and very fresh and pure water from the streams to offer to God and for which they visit streams at the earliest hour of the day”, GS informed.
The second day of the festival is called King Losar or Gyulpu Losar. On this day, people wear new clothes, eat delicious foods and enjoy with their friends and families like kings. The ritual of celebration of King Losar began from Sheep Year when the 8th King of Tibet used to invite all his subjects to his palace, talk to them, enjoy good and delicious foods together without any discrimination of status and enjoy the whole day together as Kings, GS informed.
Tse Jong Losar, the third day festival on February 9, is dedicated to the protective God who protects the people. On this day, people visit monasteries and covey gratitude to God for providing protection to them. On the same day, Dhajas (religious flags) are placed on the top of the hills and Sanghs are lighted. Several good messages and teachings of Lord Buddha and mantras like white tara mantra, guru mantra and awolokatisara mantra would be written on the Dhajas to propagate good messages and teachings of Lord Buddha. Likewise, Sanghs disperses light (happiness) throughout the world. In some places, Losar is celebrated for about 15 days or a month, GS informed.