High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost about Losar (Tibetan New Year) originally written in Tibetan and posted on a Tibetan-language blog site on January 4, 2012. This year, Chinese New Year fell on January 23, 2012, so this blogpost was posted in good time to catch the attention of readers before both Chinese and Tibetan new years.
With Losar this year falling on February 22, 2012, this blogpost continues the online debate that High Peaks Pure Earth also highlighted last year, namely that Tibetans in different parts of Tibet celebrate the new year at different times. This year with the backdrop of continued self-immolations in Eastern Tibet, Losar celebrations have mostly been cancelled, so at a time when Tibetans are feeling united, despite various reasons for the differing times to celebrate, this debate is particularly relevant.
“Do We Need a Common Losar?”
There is an impression that every year many Tibetans from Gansu and Sichuan provinces imitate other nationalities, thus losing their own identity. This is, of course, a shameful loss for our people too. Consequently, don’t we collectively and individually need to think about this? At a time when we Tibetans are undergoing endless suffering, how can we agree to celebrate Losar? However, it is a fact that laws have come into effect that force us to bury our pain deep inside and show smiles on our faces.
But it is essential that there should a common Tibetan Losar, which is in accordance with the Losar considered by the Tibetan Government based in Lhasa, the capital of the whole of Tibet. This common Losar should be the special traditional celebration for Tibetans living anywhere. Otherwise, this new trend of celebrating Losar as and when one wants that has become the trend does not augur well.
This year in Qinghai, Gansu and in other places, there is talk of celebrating Losar on different days, claiming differences in astrological calculations. The truth is that they have to realise whose astrological calculations they are following. They also have to recognise that this is something they should be ashamed of.
The root cause of the problem are the television channels that many people watch, listen and follow without any stance of their own like packs of dogs. Thus, I want to ask Qinghai TV and Gansu TV: Why do you not consider the Losar that is in accordance with traditional Tibetan calculations? Or rather, whose astrological calculations are you following? This question of whether the whole of Tibet should have a common Losar is no small issue that an individual like me can provide an answer to. But as institutions leading the people, don’t you have responsibility on this issue too?
If scholars and intellectuals living inside and outside Tibet think that this is a useless issue, then they can leave this aside. However, if they think that this issue needs a unified voice, then I hope that they will not remain absolutely silent. For the moment, this is all I have to say.
This post is also available in: English