New year in Bhutan plays an essential role in the local’s belief as it is the time of family reunion and strengthening of cultural rituals and ties. The Losar festival in which “lo” means “new” and “sar” means “year”, is known as the Bhutanese New Year, celebrated somewhere between February and March, based on the Buddhist calendar. The festival itself is a great opportunity for tourists to enjoy and learn many Bhutan tradition and culture along with outdoor activities, and religion on their Bhutan vacation.

Bhutan Losar - New Year in Bhutan

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Bhutan New Year Celebration

The upcoming year in Bhutan, 2020, which will happen on February 24th, is the Year of the Male Iron Rat.
The Losar New Year begins with the Losar New Year Eve, “Nyi Shu Gu”, and lasts up to two weeks; however, the first three days of the New Year have the biggest celebrations.

When the New Year comes, like most other Asian nations, Bhutanese people begin to prepare their upcoming year by cleaning their homes from the unused objects, cooking special dishes, making a special offering at temples called “Lama Losar”, and of course, dancing and singing as well. During this time, the locals tend to buy new possessions, instead of keeping using the old ones. Temples and monasteries are sumptuously decorated, and special rituals called “puja” are performed at the monasteries on this occasion.

Altar in the Bhutan New Year Holiday 2020

The Bhutanese Losar New Year is also the time to try manifold of national dishes ranging from red rice, stews, chili peppers to sweet menu including fried biscuit, diced sugar cane, and fruit. In the locals’ faith, sugarcane and green bananas must be presented on this occasion as they bring goodness for an upcoming year.

On this occasion, it is great to watch families enjoy outdoor activities such as going on a picnic together. The Losar festivals; then, are held over the country where is saturated in feasting, dancing, and singing. Darts and Archery are played in the Losar New Year in which archery is known as the Bhutanese national sport. You can hear people say “Tashi Delek” to each other in this special event since it is a greeting of the locals as a wish for a lucky and prosperous new year.

Bhutan New Year in a Dzong

Bhutan New Year Activities

Once traveling to Bhutan on this special occasion, do not miss a chance to get into some of the following vibrant and interesting activities with the adorable Bhutanese dwellers:

The dough balls with special things inside are really something that you have to try as these special things will present the receiver’s character traits but do not be unpleasant if you find something weird inside, it is just a joke for a better next year. A chili pepper inside, for instance, means that you are talkative while something white such as salt or rice inside refers that you are a kind-hearted person. However, if you receive black coal inside, it means that your heart is hopeless with a black hole.

Guthuk, a noodle dish made of nine different components consisting of grains and a kind of dried cheese, fried biscuits, sugar crane meat, green bananas, fermented rice, mandarin oranges, a plethora of teas, and “shudre”, a delicious sweet, is some of other dishes that you have to try in the Losar festival.

Visiting Punakha, you will see the Punakha Dzong, a massive fortress sitting at the junction of the two rivers, Pho Chhu, and Mo Chhu symbolizes the Buddhist architecture. Since the Dzong was built in 1637, the Losar New Year annually took place there. The Punakha festival is the most important event of all the Losar festivals which are held across the country.

Offering food for monks in Losar Day of Bhutan