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New Year Traditions

    Tibetan New Year

    The Tibetan New year is known as Losar. The Tibetan people are followers of the Buddhists faith. There leader is the Dalai Lama and when he dies his soul passes into a new-born baby. Care is taken to find a boy at approximately the same time as the death of the lama. The boy is educated and takes up religious duties when he is old enough.

    The New Year is celebrated in late January or early February at the time of the new moon.

    The last two days of the old year are called Gutor and is spent preparing for the New Year. The first day of Gutor is spent cleaning the house from top to bottom. The kitchen is especially cleaned as it is the heart of the house and is the most important room in the house. The chimney is also cleared of soot. There are special dishes cooked ready for the New Year. One dish is the nine soup which is made from meat, wheat, rice, sweet potatoes, cheese, peas, green peppers, vermicelli and radishes. This dish is served with small dumplings. These dumplings contain such things as scraps of wood, paper or pebbles. These are to foretell the future ahead with it being good or bad. Charcoal meant a black heart.

    The second day of Gutor was spent on religious ceremonies. They would go visit the monasteries to give gifts to the monks. They let off firecrackers and torches are used to rid the homes of evil spirits which may be lurking.

    On New Year's Day they rise early and bath, put their clothes on. They then honor the gods in their household shrines and place offerings before them. The offerings may consist of an animal and demons from a kind of dough and are known as torma. This day is also kept as a family day where gifts are exchanged and meals shared. The foods may consist of a cake called a Kapse and also an alcoholic drink called chang which is served warm.

    The second day of Losar is a day for visiting friends and going to entertainments.

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