Losar is a festival in Tibetan Buddhism. The holiday is celebrated on various dates depending on location and tradition. The holiday is a new year's festival, celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar, which corresponds to a date in February or March in the Gregorian calendar
Losar also involved gratitude for harvest, similar to Vaisakhi in India. As Buddhism seeped into Tibetan culture, celebrations of Losar also adopted a Buddhist tilt in the rites and customs. It is believed that during the reign of Pude Gungyal, who was the ninth king of Tibet, there lived an old woman called Belma who taught people how to calculate time-based on the phases of the moon. With that belief, some local people refer to Losar as Bal Gyal Lo, where Bal refers to Tibet, Gyal to the King and Lo to the Year.
Eight Auspicious Symbols
Parasol is representative of Royal Dignity
A pair of golden fish represent the Good Fortune to follow the coming year
Conch Shell helps in spreading the sound of Dharma
Lotus Blossom is representative of the clarity of mind that would lead in the path to attain enlightenment or nirvana
Vase is representative of prosperity and longevity
Victory Banner is representative of victory over worldly pleasures like lust, desires, and fear of death, also leading to nirvana
The Wheel of Dharma is perhaps the most important Buddhist Symbol. This is representative of the Noble Eightfold Path that would lead to Nirvana, thereby ending all suffering
The Eternal Knot is representative of the union of wisdom and compassion, reminding one of the far-reaching effects thereof
The last two days of the old year are called Gutor, is when people begin to prepare for the New Year.
The first day is spent cleaning the house. The kitchen especially has to be cleansed, because it is where the food is prepared, and hence the most important part of the house. The chimney is swept free of dirt. Special dishes are cooked. One is a soup served with small dumplings. The soup is made from meat, wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, cheese, peas, green peppers, vermicelli, and radishes. The fillings for dumplings include scraps of wood, paper, or pebbles.
On the second day, religious ceremonies are held. People visit the local monastery to worship and give gifts to the monks. They also set off firecrackers to rid evil spirits, which are believed to be lurking around. Houses are thoroughly cleared, after which people get dressed, and proceed to have a reunion feast, which is similar in spirit to the Han Chinese New Year feast.
On the New Year’s Day, people wake up early and put on new clothes after having taken a bath. They then make offerings to the gods by placing them on their household shrines and worship them. This day family members also exchange gifts. Families have a reunion dinner, usually consisting of a kind of cake called kapse and an alcoholic drink called chang, which is drunk to keep warm.