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Tibetan New Year

The Tibetans originated from an agricultural tribe settling along the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River in Tibet. They have their own spoken and written language, which belongs to the Tibetan branch of the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan language family. The Tibetans believe in Lamaism, which belongs to the Mahayana School of Buddhism but assimilates some of the beliefs and rites of the local religion called "Bon." The Tibetans have their own calendar, which was systematized in 1027. Written records show that the Tibetans invented their own calendar before 100 BC, which is called Bon Calendar.
The Tibetan New Year is the most important festival in Tibet. It is celebrated in late January or early February at the time of the new moon. Tibetans begin preparing for New Year's Day early in the twelfth month according to the Tibetan calendar. Besides food preparation, each household has to get ready a Five-Cereal Container which is a rich- 
carved colorful wooden box with fried highland barley mixed with butter inside and flowers made of butter and green shoots of highland barley above. This is done to pray for a bumper harvest and better life in the coming year. They also make fried wheat dough mixed with butter in various shapes as religious offerings and also for visiting guests.

On New Year's Day they rise early and bath, put their clothes on. They then honor the gods in their household shrines and place offerings before them. The offerings may consist of an animal and demons from a kind of dough and are known as torma. This day is also kept as a family day where gifts are exchanged and meals shared. The foods may consist of a cake called a Kapse and also an alcoholic drink called chang which is served warm.

On the eve of the Tibetan New Year, Tibetans clean up their houses, change door and window curtains, set up brand-new prayer flags on the roof and paint patterns symbolizing eternity and good luck on the gates with lime. In the evening, all family members reunite together and an "auspicious dinner" is offered. This dinner's main meal is dough drops known as Gutu in Tibetan, which include stone, wool, hot pepper, charcoal or coins inside. These items are said to be able to foretell the nature of and future fortunes of the person who eats them.

The second day of Losar is a day for visiting friends and going to entertainments. They will dress in their holiday best and extend greeting with the auspicious words "tashi delek" to each other. Mass singing and dancing, as well as traditional Tibetan operas, are performed in towns and villages across Tibet during the period. On the 15th day, religious activities are held in the large part of Tibetan areas.

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