HAPPY LOSAR: TASHI DELEK! 2020 is the Year of the Iron Mouse: May All Beings be Happy.

We could all use a little good fortune and happiness, and I don’t think anyone would disagree that we universally hope the Year of the Iron Mouse, beginning today February 24, 2020, will bring peace and happiness to all beings. Your friends at Buddha Weekly wish you a Happy Losar. Tashi Delek!

Losar — The First 15 Days

Whether you believe in astrology or not, Buddhist tradition generally holds that the first 15 days of the New Year are the most important — and most especially February 5, the first day of the year. The merits of practice and karma are “multiplied” according to many sutras and tantras and teachers. A must-do: check with your local Buddhist centres for Losar events to bring in the New Year right.

 

Happy Losar 2020, Year of the Iron Mouse.

 

Chotrul Cuchen

The first moon of the New Year (Lunar) is Chotrul Cuchen (Chunga Choepa), the Day celebrating Buddha’s Miracles — often celebrated with a butter lamp festival. The festival of Buddha’s fifteen miracles actually begins on Losar (New Year), this year on February 24 (2020.) For 15 consecutive days, the faithful celebrate the 15 days of miracles. It is said by teachers of Vajrayana lineage, that these are “multiplying” days — where all merits and all negative acts are magnified “millions” of times. Millions, is usually translated as “many.”

 

Losar in Nepal is brilliantly lit up at the Boudanath Stupa Kathmandu. Lots of light brings in brightness for the New Year.

 

For a detailed story, in two parts, on the Fifteen Miracles of Buddha, see:

Offerings and purification are important prior to Losar, to ensure you don’t carry any negativity into the new year. Then, of course, after New Year, offerings are super important — the merit is multiplied.

Losar, and the next 2 days

Ideally, colourful clothing ushers in the New Year. It is traditional to offer to the Buddhas, Dakinis, Protectors before eating. In most areas, it would be traditional to exchange Katas (white scarves). Especially, for at least the first two days, be mindful of all language, especially no profanity. Avoid saying words out loud that are negative, like “kill”, “butcher”, “sick”, and so on.

 

Prior to New Year, there is often a traditional dance designed to “scare away” the demons, spirits, ghosts.

 

In most areas it’s traditional to wear new clothes on the first day. Traditions differ on bathing. In some traditions, you bathe on the first day to make sure you start clean, but in others, they clean the day before and try not to bathe on the first day — it “washes away the luck.” But these are symbolic acts, so whatever resonates is best.

 

During New Year, there will be traditional dances and celebrations — depending on the area of the world.

 

Offerings, in the form of tormas, are important. Any spiritual activities are beneficial. Offerings to the teacher or Guru, to the Buddha and Three Jewels, are important for “merit”, but also to give thanks for a New Year of opportunity.

The first day of Losar is usually for family, the second day for friends and relatives. The third day is traditionally the day to visit gompas, monasteries and temples and make offerings. Offerings to the monks are important and meritorious.

 

Making offerings on your shrine on Losar is a way of creating new year merit and of creating a festive environment. You should make the offerings before you eat your first meal (ideally).

 

Offering prayer flags to the winds, to carry the merit to all beings, or turning prayer wheels with the same purpose are important merit.

Previous stories on Losar (previous years):

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Lee Kane

Author | Buddha Weekly

Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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