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Arunachal Pradesh celebrates Losar with traditional fervour
Losar, the New Year festival of the Tibetan Buddhists is being celebrated today, February 19, which is an important holiday in many states of India as well as in Nepal and Bhutan.
On the night of February 18 festivities called Nyi Shu Gu were held in Arunachal Pradesh that homes famed Tawang Monestry of Tibetan Buddhism, a former student of mine from Kendriya Vidyalaya in Arunachal's Tengavalley informed me while wishing Happy Losar with a card showing the decoration of worship area in his house.

On this occasion the protector deities' puja is done and special noodle called guthuk with nine different ingredients including dried cheese and various grains are made and served.

In Arunachal Pradesh, Losar is celebrated for three days. Main festivities are organized by Monpa tribe of Tawang and the Memba of the Mechukha valley of Arunachal Pradesh. Losar is also celebrated by Buddhist tribes such as Yolmo, Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, and Bhutia in different regions in the country.

For Buddhists population in the states like Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal and Ladakh in Kashmir, Losar is a big celebration wherein dances of good wishes are performed.

"For Tibetan Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh, Losar is a time to clean house, cherish family, make offerings, contemplate the past year and welcome the new year as the year of the Wood Sheep characterized by peace, harmony and abundance," informed Rahda Thungon, my ex-student who now teaches in a school in Rupa Valley of Arunachal Pradesh.

Also, a popular dish made from flour and yak milk butter and guthuk are cherished on Losar.

During my stint of about four years in Arunachal Pradesh, I'd enjoyed the Losar celebrations when homes were cleaned, religious flags are hoisted, cloth buntings were put up, sacred scriptures were perused and lamps with butter were lit.

Buddhists tribal populace always wore their finest new traditional attires and have fun along with wishing prosperity and good health to friends and kin on Losar. In the schools, colorful and energetic ritual dances are performed as a part of Losar festivities by tribal students.

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