Sonam Lhosar

Sonam LhosarSonam Lhosar is a festival celebrated as an occasion of start of a new year, by the Tamang community people in Nepal. ‘Lho’ means year and ‘Sar’ means new or fresh if translated, and the word ‘Sonam’ is referred to the Tamang people in Nepal, thus the festival ‘Sonam Lhosar’ is the New Year event, according to the calendar followed by Tamang people. This festival is also observed by minority Yolmo, Dura, the Thakalis of Mustang, the Dolpalis, and the Sinsas from Sankhuwasabha in the Himalayan region. According to the Bikram Sambat Nepali calendar, Sonam Lhosar falls on the month of Magh (January, according to the Gregorian calendar). The Sonam Lhosar falls on Magh Shukla Pakshya every year, according to the Lunar calendar. The Sonam Lhosar of this year is the 2849th Lhosar of the community.

The Sonam Lhosar festival is celebrated for two weeks in overall between December and January every year (of which only one day is the main). In this festival, the houses and vicinity are kept clean, holy clothes hoisted and pooja conducted by worshipping Lord Buddha. The Lama and gurus gather, and dances are performed in the Tamang community. Monasteries are attractively adorned with colorful decorative items. People take blessings from monks for their progress, prosperity and happiness. The events are followed by extensive feasts in houses. Daughters and sisters are invited to receive blessings along with exchanging of greetings among one another. In Kathmandu valley, the day is usually marked by organising several cultural programmes followed by several of variegated food stalls and play work for children. Similarly, a rally is taken out in the Tundikhel area where a three-day-long festival and Miss Tamang competition are also held. The special food like pigs, duck, chicken and sweet deserts are prepared for the family gathering. Musical programs are also performed with Tamang Selo and Damfu (A traditional musical drum). Tamang eople have fiestas and fun, and take ultimate enjoyment in this festival sharing and preserving their centuries long culture and tradition.

Who are Tamang people?

sonam lhosar tamang
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The Tamang people are ancient tribes of Nepal, and are aborigines who reside mainly in hilly region, especially in Central Nepal. The districts which have largest number of Tamang residents are Rasuwa, Nuwakkot, Dhading, Makawanpur, Chitwan, Sindhupalchok, Kavrepalanchok, Dolakha, Ramechhap and Sindhuli. They form about 8% of the total population of Nepal. According to mythology, the word ‘Ta’ means ‘horse’ and ‘mang’ means riders, which makes them linked with some kind of horse trading or business. Some even consider them as horse warriors of previous times. The Tamang people are also found in North Eastern states of Darjaling, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Asham, Nagaland and Guhati of India, and also in Bhutan and Burma, who are considered as the migrants from Nepal. Almost 90% of the Tamangs are Buddhists, and rest of them follow the Kirant religion.

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