Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Losar – February 21, 2023

Losar, or Bhutanese New Year, is a festival that takes place on February 21 this year. The holiday is observed on a variety of days, depending on local customs (Bhutan, Tibet, India and Nepal). The observance is a new year’s festival that is celebrated on the first day of the Tibetan lunisolar calendar, which coincides with February/March in the Gregorian calendar. The Nepalese version of the event is called Lhochhar, and it takes place around eight weeks before the Tibetan Losar.

History of Losar

Bhutan is a landlocked nation in Southeast Asia, located in the Eastern Himalayas. Bhutan is a fascinating country that appears to exist in a parallel universe. It is enchanting to many people and appears to be right out of a storybook.

Losar, the Bhutanese New Year’s celebration, is held in February or March, according to the lunar calendar. This festival is characterized by ritual dining and family gatherings, as well as thanksgiving and good luck offerings for the coming year.

Losar celebrations vary from region to region in Bhutan, as well as from Losar celebrations in nearby Tibet. Losar food, its preparation, display, consumption, and cultural significance are all essential traditional rituals that serve to strengthen community relationships and Bhutanese culture and way of life.

The modern-day Losar festival in Bhutan began in 1637 when Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (1594 to 1651), Bhutan’s unifier, held an inaugural celebration to commemorate the construction of the renowned Punakha dzong temple. Bhutanese people traveled from all over the country to deliver tributes of produce from their different regions. The great variety of dishes used during the ritual Losar dinners reflects this tradition.

Losar celebrations frequently feature a traditional morning meal scheduled to coincide with the rising sun, a midday meal, and an afternoon treat. Traditional foods include tshos (fried biscuits), diced sugar canes, mandarins, changkoi (fermented rice), various soups, cheeses, and porridges, as well as multiple teas and shudre (sweets). Green bananas and sugarcane are regarded as auspicious foods, and their inclusion helps to guarantee a prosperous New Year.

Losar timeline

601 A.D. — 700 A.D.
Buddhism Comes to Bhutan

Buddhism is introduced to the Bhutanese people.

1580s
Bhutan-like Names Appear in Europe

Names such as Bottanter, Bohtan, Bottanthis, Buhtan, and Bottan make an appearance in Europe.

1637
Modern Losar Celebrations Begin

The modern version of Losar originates in Bhutan.

1676
Boutan Is Recorded for the First Time

Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's Six Voyages in 1676 records the Boutan name for the first time.

Losar FAQs

Is it safe to travel to Bhutan?

Bhutan is a reasonably safe nation to visit; even street crime is rare! There are no traffic lights in the nation; instead, there are traffic wardens, whom the residents adore. Tobacco cultivation and sale, as well as hunting and fishing, are prohibited except for catch and release.

Why do so many people bear the name Tenzin?

Tibetans in the diaspora frequently consult the Dalai Lama to name their children. The exile community, therefore, has a large population of boys and girls with Tenzin, the 14th Dalai Lama’s first name, as their first name.

When is the best time to travel to Bhutan?

Bhutan is best visited between October and December when the air is pure and pleasant with sunny skies. The weather is cooler in January and February, but the temperature remains dry and pleasant until April, when the famous rhododendrons blossom gloriously, filling the valleys with color.

Losar Activities

  1. Clean and cook a special dish

    Bhutanese people start the new year by cleaning their homes, cooking special delicacies, leaving special tributes at temples known as Lama Losar, and dancing and singing. Take a leaf out of their book: clear out your home and prepare a special dish.

  2. Replace stuff around the house

    The Bhutanese have a tradition of buying new possessions instead of managing old ones. Give your home a new-year feel by replacing that rickety armchair or faulty light bulb.

  3. Try a Bhutanese dish

    The Bhutanese New Year is also a great opportunity to sample a variety of traditional delicacies. The menu includes fried biscuits, chopped sugar cane, and fruit, as well as red rice, stews, and chili peppers.

5 Facts About Bhutan That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Isolated

    Bhutan was completely cut off from the rest of the world until 1974 when the new king's coronation was permitted to be covered by the media for the first time, 64 years since its founding.

  2. Freestyle driving

    With steep slopes in the hilly regions and no traffic lights, driving in Bhutan is a mind-racing adventure.

  3. Dangerous town

    Paro, a Bhutanese valley town, is recognized for having the world's most difficult airport to land in, just eight skilled pilots are allowed to land there.

  4. The highest undefeated peak

    With an elevation of 7,570 meters, Gangkhar Puensum is Bhutan's tallest peak and has yet to be conquered.

  5. Stranger things

    Bhutan's national animal is the Takin, a goat-antelope hybrid.

Why We Love Losar

  1. Bonding time

    Losar is the perfect time to get together with family and friends and celebrate the new year. It's wonderful to see families enjoying outdoor activities together.

  2. Fun time

    Losar festivals are characterized by feasting, singing, and dancing. In general, it is a celebration of life itself as well as the prosperity of the coming year.

  3. Loads of sports activities

    Losar celebrations are not limited to eating and dancing alone. Archery, which is Bhutan’s national sport, and darts are part of the festival.

Losar dates

YearDateDay
2022March 3Thursday
2023February 21Tuesday
2024February 10Saturday
2025February 28Friday
2026February 18Wednesday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.