Saturday Feb 4, 2023
Saturday Feb 4, 2023

Sonam Lhosar being observed today

2022 Feb 02, 6:23, Kathmnadu

The 2149th Sonam Lhosar, is being celebrated across the country today by people of the Tamang and Yolmo community. The festival is celebrated to mark the beginning of a new year according to the eastern lunar calendar. Historically, people of the Tamang and Yolmo communities began celebrating the harvest of crops and agriculture. As ‘Sonam' translates to agriculture and ‘Lhosar' translates to ‘beginning of a new era’ in Tamang language, the tradition came to be known as Sonam Lhosar

The festival falls on the first full moon of the month of Magh every year. Unlike other calendars, Tamangs divide their year into 12 cycles according to the Manju Shree calendar. Each cycle is represented by the twelve zodiac animals. The year of the Tiger begins today with the end of Ox year. Sonam Lhosar reflects the rich and vibrant culture of the Tamangs and Yolmos. “Sonam Lhosar is very similar to Dashain of the Hindus", says Secretary of Chhyorten Tashi Tamang Monastery. “On the first day of the festival, we receive tika and blessings from our elders after the puja. Then we visit our relatives and share joy and happiness with everyone for the next four days”, he says. “We also visit monasteries and places of worship in our traditional attire", he adds. 

People spend their new year’s eve bidding goodbyes and being grateful for the past year. “When the clock strikes 12, we welcome the new year with great enthusiasm”, says Tamang. They clean and decorate their houses to welcome the new year. Buddhist monks also perform rituals and masked dances to destroy negative energy and attract positivity. “We festoon our homes, monasteries, stupas etc. with colorful prayer flags. This is done to bring peace and harmony amongst individuals”, he says. 

However, the pandemic has largely affected the celebration of Sonam Lhosar. Usually the Tamangs and Yolmos gather at Tudikhel and celebrate their festival with food, drinks and merriment. This has come to a halt ever since the pandemic began on 2020. “We haven’t been able to conduct cultural programs and celebration for the past three years. According to the COVID protocols, we haven’t been able to conduct programs publicly. This year also, there will be no celebration at Tudikhel" says Tamang.


Sonam Lhosar Tamang Yolmo pandemic culture tradition monasteries New Year
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