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Sonam Lhochhar Celebrated by Tamang Community in Kathmandu

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Archive» Tamng Sonam Lhochhar celebration in Kathmandu. Photo: Sangmo Yonjan-Tamang.  Illustration: eEyeCam

Kathmandu, 28 Jan, 09- Indigenous Tamang Peoples of Nepal celebrated their biggest and the most important cultural festival Sonam Lhochhar (New Year), demanding Tamangsaling Autonomous State in various part of the country including Kathmandu valley with great fanfare and merriment.

Thousands of enthusiastic Tamang community members, residing in the valley and adjoining areas gathered at Tundikhel, in Kathmandu on Magh 14 (January 27) to mark 2845 Lhang Lhochhar, that carries traditional, religious, socio-cultural and historical importance in this community.The year marks the year of the Ox.

Keeping the tradition, the festival was celebrated in high spirit in the valley with participation from people of all walks of life.

"This type of celebration helps in preserving our culture and tradition”, said young beautiful Tshering Tamang with excitement," its really good to see participation of such a mass almost dressed in traditional attires. This shows how Tamang population have been aware about their culture."

For the last few years, it is seen that the new generation are being aware about their culture and showing the interest in preserving and promoting the festival that gives them a cultural identity.

Bidding goodbye to Jiwa (Mouse) year and welcoming Lhang (Ox) year, jubilant ethnic Tamang clad in their traditional attires and exchanged best wishes which they call 'Lhochhar Jyabadanba', greeting, love among each other engaging themselves in singing, dancing, performing religious task, merrymaking while others in feasting.

Tamangs are 5.54% of total population and 5th largest ethnic population of Nepal.

The huge number of Tamangs participated including general publics at the event as the day is declared public holiday and recognized as a national festival along with other different ethnic festivals by the government formally from this year.

School children seemed happy enjoying holiday at the function.

Tamangs gathered in Tudikhel, Kathmandu to celebrate Sonam Lhochhar. Photos: Sangmo

" This time I get a chance to involve in this social and cultural gathering as the school remained closed.", said 7 grader Tshhorsang Yonjan- Tamang who was seen joyous at the program venue with his family."

The celebration consisted of display of cultural dress, singing songs of jubilance and celebration, performing traditional horse riding dance and playing traditional instruments with much gust and joviality that were indeed noteworthy.

They performed their inimitable native dance with an unparallel enthusiasm. The body and legs were shaken in popular Tamang Selo and Mendomaya Dance. Tamang women decorated themselves with jewelries such as Pote, Tirali, Naugeri, Chura, Dungri whereas male managed to look gorgeous in the Tamang cultural attire.

The fiesta was amplified by various cultural shows, food festivals and handicrafts stalls.
Several dozens of flavorsome food stalls served them a wide range of delicious dishes and traditional liquors.

Like Hindu's Dashain, Lhochhar keeps great cultural religious importance in the social life of all Buddhist Indigenous Peoples. Thus, Tamang people mark it as a greatest cultural festival rather than observing merely as a changing of Lho (Year).

Tamang girls at the event.

Organizers were busy in maintaining everything well organized and making a Lhochhar program a grand success with their fullest efforts.

In this day, main person of the house takes a ritual bath early in a morning and offer prayer to Lord Buddha with sacred water and various foods like Fruits, Kandamul-Alu/Bhyakur/Tarul, Khapse (Roti), Babar Geng and express gratitude towards the God and the ancestors. There is a tradition of waving the Lundar/ Darchu (religious flag) in house, Gumba and other religious places as a symbol of Lhochhar wishing peace and prosperity in every living beings. Similarly, the seniors give blessing to the juniors by wearing them Khada/Tika and exchanging good wishes for peace and happiness as well as gifts among each other. Feasting and enjoyment is another important part of Lhochhar.

Lhochhar is observed by different indigenous communities of Nepal on different dates under three names- Tola, Sonam and Gyalpo, primarily with an objective of welcoming new year.

Tamang traditional dance. Photos: Sangmo

Gurung observed Tola Lhochhar always on Poush 15 (January). Tamang and Yholmo peoples mark Sonam Lhochhar in the month of Magh (Jan-February), and Sherpa and other Mountain peoples celebrate Gyalpo Lhochhar in Falgun (March). In every three years, Tamang and Sherpa mark Lhosar in same date.

'Lho' means Year and 'Chhar' means New. Thus, Lhochhar means New Year. Tamang peoples observed this festival as an end of one 'Lho' and beginning of another new 'Lho'.
There are altogether 12 'Lho' in Tamang calender.. These Lhos are named after animals and birds. Each gets repeated in every 12 year of cycle.

Countries like China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore also celebrate New Year in this day.

Tamang people have been demanding 5 days public holiday in Lhochhar like the Hindus get weeks long public holidays for festivals such as Dashain and Tihar.

There was the presence of various prominent figures of Tamang communities, which includeed the representatives of different political parties,Constitution Assemby members and others.

The formal program included the felicitation of members of Tamang Community who have made special contribution to the society. The chief guest of the program was Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal). The good wish message sent by Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal was read out, as he couldn't attend the function due to busy schedule.

Photos: Sangmo

The greatest festival attracted thousands of Tamang community members to several venues in and around Kathmandu. Nagarkot village saw huge people attending a function with much zest.

The event was hosted by Lang Lhochhar 2845 Brihat Mul Samyojag Samiti in the leadership of Nepal Tamang Ghedung, Nepal National Tamang Federation and others.
There was participation of 101 Tamang organizations.

-Sangmo Yonjan- Tamang in Kathmandu

  तपाईंको भनाइ लेखी छाड्‍न र अरुको भनाइ पढ्न यहाँ क्लिक गर्नुहोस्
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