This year is Earth Dog Year 2145 as per the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. Tibetans celebrating the New Year or Losar from 16 February 2018 is trending all over on all social media platforms. Losar is an occasion for families, loved ones, friends to gather and spend quality time with each other. In fact, it is a time to celebrate the collective spirit of Tibetan-ness and engage in merry-making activities; yet it is also a time to reflect upon the year gone by and to introspect and plan for the year ahead.
For Tibetans being exiled from their homeland, it also serves as a reminder as to how far we have come since the early years of exile and to march ahead in the freedom struggle despite all odds of being exiled.
This weekend falls 10th day of Tibetan Earth Dog Year 2145, the day being an auspicious one, according to Tibetans and Buddhists. On this auspicious day, Tibetans spend the day filled with spiritual activities by visiting monasteries and offering prayers for the benefit of all sentient beings.
As one might notice this week, our social media platforms are filled with celebrative atmosphere of Tibetan and Tibetan supporters celebrating Losar.
Kenneth Ian Juster the United States Ambassador to India on his twitter account wrote: “Was pleased to meet representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama” and shared his Losar greetings in his official twitter account Ken Juster @USAMIndia.
Sarah Sewall, former US Special Coordinator for Tibetan cause and also a long-term supporter of Tibetan, on her twitter account @Sarahbsewall wrote: “…happy to witness US Religious Freedom shared Tibetan New Year celebration” on their official twitter account @State_IRF. Currently she serves as Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.
Samuel D. Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, was grateful for attending the event and shared group photo taken at State Department in Washington DC.
A small number of Tibetans who took asylum in Austria shared images and videos of the Losar celebration amidst local Tibetan supports with traditional songs and cultural performance. The Tibetans also made use of this unique event to offer their gratitude to the supporters of Tibetan cause.
Interestingly, Feb 16th also marked new year for the Mongolians, Buryats, Tuvans, and Kalmyks where sizeable population follows Buddhism. The Mongols and Kalmyks call Losar ‘Tsagan Saar’, the Buryats call it ‘Sagaalgan’ and the Tuvan call it ‘Chaaga’. The office of Tibet, Moscow celebrated New Year in the spirit of friendship and unity by holding events where Buryats, Mongolians, Tuvans, Kalmyks and of course, Tibetans joined together. Dancers adorned in colorful dresses presented beautiful cultural performances adding a mixed aura to the Losar celebration. It is indeed one Losar characterized by unity, friendship and love and respect to each other.