Losar: Tibetan New Year
12th February 2021, Tibetan New Year’s Day
On this Iron Ox New Year’s Day, my team and I wish you all excellent health and great success !
Tibetan New Year falls quite differently than that of the Gregorian calendar, as it follows the lunar phase almanac. This year it happens on February 12th. It is marked by the element Iron and the Ox animal sign: a significant year for spirituality, but lacking in terms of economic development.
The Tibetan people have three New Year celebrations: for agricultural, official and spiritual purposes.
The first New Year’s Day, called Shingpé Losar or farmers’ New Year, falls on the first day of the eleventh Tibetan Month, which is in mid-December on the western calendar. This month and day both belong to the Tiger sign. They have the energy of the Wood element, carrying the breath of the spring season. This tradition is based on elemental astrology (jungtsi) and is celebrated mainly by Tibetan farmers and people from Himalayan areas, such as Ladakhis, Nepali Tamang and Sherpas, and Bhutanese.
The second New Year’s Day is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan year. Generally, this New Year falls between the end of February and middle of March in the western calendar. This is the public and Tibetan royal official New Year’s Day that is celebrated in all Tibetan societies. It is also the New Year followed in the Tibetan medicine. It is considered as the beginning of the spring season.
The third New Year’s Day has Buddhist spiritual origins, and is based on Kalachakra astrology. It is not popular and is generally not celebrated by common people. But astrologers keep this old calendar tradition, which starts from the third month of the Tibetan year (around April in western calendar), when Buddha expounded the Kalachakra tantra.
Astrological practice is an essential supplement for better understanding the complete system of the gross and subtle body, and the seasonal psycho-humoral functioning of the body-mind. This is why astrology continues to play an important role in many aspects of Tibetan society.
Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya