India is the land of myriad festivals which are held all across the different states of the country. There is hardly any place in India which is not touched by the hues and joys of a festival. Jammu and Kashmir is no exception and festivals and fairs in different parts of this northern most state of India. Losar celebrations in Jammu and Kashmir, in the Ladakh district can be regarded as the most elaborate and convoluted of the different social and religious events and festivals of Ladakh. There is an interesting story that is at the root of the Losar celebrations in Ladakh. King Jamyang Namgyal , on the eve of setting out on an expedition against the Balti forces in winter was advised not to lead an expediting before the next year. To solve the problem, keeping the regard of the advice, he preponed the New Year celebrations in Ladakh by two months. This became established as a tradition and since then the Losar is celebrated on the first day of the eleventh month of every year.
Description of Losar celebrations
Each and everybody, men, women and children make an active participation during the Losar celebrations in Jammu and Kashmir. The rites and the rituals that are followed during the Losar is an interesting amalgamation of the Buddhist and the pre Buddhist Bon religious practices. It is during the end of the harvesting season that people start taking preparations for celebrating Losar. There are provisions that are stocked and goats and sheep kept for the elaborate customary feasts that form an integral part of the Losar celebrations. Chang, a local barley beer is a popular drink for the Losar celebrations and grain from the harvest is kept for its brewing, as a part of preparations for the Losar celebrations. People wear new clothes and adorn themselves in new jewelry to enhance the festive mood in the air. The slaughtering of the goats and the sheep which were kept reserved for the festivities are done with a ritual to mark the beginning of the Losar celebrations.
Time for Losar celebrations
It is on the 29th day of the 10th month which is the time for the Losar celebrations. The festival starts on the first day of the 11th month officially.