Traditional Tibetan New Year Dancers

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ February 18th, 2013. Filed under: Photography, Tibet.
Colorful Tibetan dancers celebrating New Year known as Losar

Colorful Tibetan dancers celebrating New Year known as Losar

Traditional Tibetan New Year Dancers

Tibetan New Year is also known as Losar. The date coincides with Chinese New Year but the traditions are quite different. While Tibetan specific celebrations are often restricted across Tibet, in Nepal they continue on every year in full costume.

Facts about Tibetan New Year:

  • Tibetan New Year is known as Losar
  • Losar is also celebrated in Nepal, India and Bhutan
  • The Tibetan calendar is lunisolar calendar and the date of Losar changes according to the lunar month
  • It is currently the year 2140 (2013) in Tibet. Losar in 2013 was celebrated on February 11th
  • The colorful costumes you see in this photograph are only brought out once a year for this celebration
  • Traditional music is played in the form of drums, long horns, and chanting

The story behind this photograph

Taken in 2008 during Tibetan New Year in Nepal. I was invited to attend a new year ceremony at a Tibetan Monastery outside of Kathmandu. I returned recently for Losar however there was no ceremony. It would seem I’d had my chance and it wasn’t to be repeated.

Many Tibetan monks now live in Nepal after fleeing their homeland of Tibet due to Chinese occupation. These Tibetan monks still carry out their traditional ways of life, including celebrations throughout the year.

Finding such ceremonies in Nepal is no easy task. Sometimes they happen, other times they do not. And usually they are announced only days beforehand to a select few people. This year was no exception with no real public announcement of when or where a celebration was to occur. At least, a colorful festive celebration. All that is publicly announced is that it’s a government holiday.

In hindsight I wasn’t expecting the celebration to be quite as elaborate as it was. I now know my fortune in seeing such a rare performance up close and personal.

If you are interested, here’s a short video of this traditional Tibetan dance (scroll to bottom of the page).

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Tibetan New Year, known as Losar Celebrations - Nepal

Tibetan New Year, known as Losar Celebrations – Nepal

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This is an additional photograph feature from my world travel photography gallery, documenting the story behind the picture 

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10 Great responses to Traditional Tibetan New Year Dancers

  1. Sophie says:

    Wow. So colorful and mysterious. Must have been an interesting experience.

  2. David Benfell says:

    Dear Dave,
    I would like to forward you a PDF file relevant to your travel reports, this does not seem possible via your contact facility. Would you please advise me how to complete this endeavour.
    Regards – David Benfell

  3. Mike says:

    Nice shot. I was wondering if Chinese New Year was the same with all the differences the two places have.

  4. Anna's World says:

    I’ve never seen something like this. Usually it’s all big dragons and fireworks. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Emma says:

    Love this shot. Reminds me of something out of a movie. Those costumes look really expensive too!