January 18, 2022, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

The Gurungs observed Tamu Lhosar

The Nepal Weekly
January 4, 2022

Tamu refers to the Gurung community, while Lhosar refers to a new year. Thus, TamuLhor is new year celebration by the Gurungs on 15th day in Pousha, according to Bikram calendar i.e. around the end of December. The community settled across the globe celebrates the festival with rituals and fanfare.

This time the mice year is saying goodbye and welcoming the new year of cow. A large cultural programme was organised in Tundikhel, Kathmandu with the initiations of a number of Tamu organizations.

According to various books and historical documents, this festival is celebrated especially by the Buddhist community with great enthusiasm and taste even before Buddha came to this earth. Various books and researches of Tibetan origin mention that even before the arrival of Buddha, people of this community and mainly people of Tibet used to worship God by burning fragrant incense sticks in mid-winter. According to books and researches on the Tamu community, the Tamu ancestors came to Nepal from Tibet in the 6th century and are known mainly as a community living in the high mountains and high hills.

Monasteries are exclusively decorated, colourful flags are flowing with the breeze, welcome to the Lhosar or the new year of Tamu community. Not just the Tamu community but also the Magar and Gurung community of Nepal and Tibet celebrates this festival as a new year.

Blessings are given for progress, prosperity, and happiness, for Mother Nature and the delivery of pleasant weather by her, for mountains and their people. Greetings and gifts are exchanged in this festival. So as dance, songs and feasts are also organised as part of Tamu Lho sar.

Gurungs (Tamu) are indigenous inhabitants of west-central parts of Nepal and some live east of Kathmandu. There are numerous clans of Gurungs, the members of which are all well known for their bravery and cultural wealth. Their warm welcome and hospitality at the Losar celebration were evident from the plates with sel roti (Nepali bread) and Achaar (Nepali pickles) being served in the festival. 

Gurungs divide time into cycles of 12 years (lohokor), to each year of which a special name is given, which is known as Barga (lho). Losar also heralds the change in ‘Lho’. According to the oriental astrological system, there are 12 lhos–garuda, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, deer, mouse, cow, tiger and cat. Therefore, each year is marked by a particular animal and they are arranged in a single circle (on paper), closely following the Tibetan calendar with its’ 12 animals. In early days, when there was no calendar system in Nepal, the 12 rotation system was used to calculate peoples’ ages. As Poush 15 marks the end of winter and start of spring, Lhosar it traditionally celebrated for three days doing dine and drinks too.  Gurungs are very rich in tradition and culture. Rodhighar, Chudka, Sorathi, Ghantu and Dhori are some of their wonderful are the contribution of Gurung culture to Nepal. The Gurungs have their own language, cultural, festivals, rituals, traditional, but are consistence with Nepali culture and values.