Losar ལོ་གསར (New Year) is a historical event for Tibetan people. The year of the pig falls on February 5thof the Gregorian calendar this year.
Tibetans follow the 12-year cycle zodiac heavily. Most Tibetan mothers even refer to their children’s birth year by the year of the zodiac animal rather than the calendar year.
Tibetan culture is a complex one with ancient Bönmystical beliefs and Buddhist influences intermixed. Elders believe the year that cycles back to one’s own zodiac may bring trials.
My brother was born in a ‘piggy’ year, and this is his year. I know my mother would ask him to be cautious, avoid risks in the ‘boar’ year. But my brother is educated and worldly. I bet he would take that as humor and say witty things to only make her laugh instead (our poor mother).
Since I had a hard time finding the animal names of zodiac in Tibetan language online, I thought I’d share them with you here. (Putting my degree in Tibetan literature to use once in a while is a good feeling).
12-year cycle zodiac—སྐར་ཁྱིམ་འཁོར་ལོ་བཅུ་གཉིས། kar-khyim khor-lo chu-nyi—the Year-signs cycle in an archetypal progression or continuüm in English, Tibetan, and their pronunciation:
Rat (male)—བྱི་བ། ji-wa (shi-wa)
Ox (female)—གླང་། lang
Tiger (male)—སྟག tak
Rabbit (female)—རི་བོང། ri-wong or ri-bong
Dragon (male)—འབྲུག druk
Snake (female)—སྦྲུལ། drül
Horse (male)—རྟ། tha
Sheep (female)—ལུག luk
Monkey (male)—སྤྲེའུ། treu
Rooster (female)—བྱ། sha
Dog (male)—ཁྱི། khyi
Pigor Boar (female)—ཕག pak
If you are curious about Losar itself or interested in gaining more knowledge of global culture, click away on the links below:
Losar Festive Moments
A variety of visual expressions from Losar will offer a sense of celebration and tradition for your enjoyment. May it be gathering for steamy yak meat dumplings, attending butter sculpture showcase, Bönpractitioners performing dances, or something terribly adorable that you cannot miss: Experience Losar festival moments that you will not forget anytime soon.
Baking for Gift Giving
It might come as a surprise to learn that crunchy, wholesome bread is a staple of Tibetan cuisine. Tibetan mothers and sisters still practice baking in their kitchens on a daily basis. For special occasions like Losar, they embrace the centuries-old method of earth baking. A loaf of bread often boasts a hundred-year-old fermentation—the way it has been baked since a time before active dry yeast was invented. Experience a living history of bread-making.
LosarPreparation: Spiritual Visual Feast
During Losar preparation, you only need to take a five-minute walk to learn much about the festival and to perceive a variety of cultural expressions. Tibetan families display visual feasts that are almost surreal to look at. Behold and marvel at the ambiance.
Losar Eve Offerings
Spiritual offerings are a big part of wrapping up the year and welcoming an auspicious new year. Have you seen an image of a deity or how Tibetans honor the mountain gods? Here is your chance to experience the ancient rituals.
Wishing you a healthy, happy, and auspicious 2019, my friend.