Literally, the term “Lhosar” is composed of two words “Lho” which means “barga or Group” and “Sar” which means “New”. Gurungs divide time into cycles of 12 years (which is called “lohokor”), to each year of which a special name is given, which is known as barga (Lho). Lhosar also heralds the change in ‘Lho’. According to the oriental astrological system, there are 12 Lhos namely “garuda”, “serpent”, “horse”, “sheep”, “monkey”, “bird”, “dog”, “deer”, “mouse”, “cow”, “tiger” and “cat”. Therefore, each year is marked by a particular animal and they are arranged in a single circle (on paper), closely following the Tibetan calendar with its’ 12 animals.
In the early days, when there was no calendar system in Nepal, the 12 rotation system was used to calculate peoples’ ages. There is no record of when it was started but elderly Gurungs also believe that it was started with the civilization of this community. Tamu Lhosar is celebrated on every 15th of the ninth month (Poush) of the Nepali calendar (approx. 30 December). These days, especially in major cities, Gurungs come together to celebrate Tamu Lhosar at a commonplace and rejoice in various cultural processions, feasting and merry-making. In the past, this Lhosar was celebrated only in Gurung villages and still they celebrate it there. For more than three decades, Gurungs celebrate this festival in cities where they became united.
Tamu Lhosar as a way of the cultural identity of Gurungs.
All age groups wear their cultural dress and ornaments (Bhangra, Kachhad and Topi by males, and Ghalek, blouses, patuka, large gold earrings and semi-precious stone necklaces by females). On the main Lhosar day, They organize Dohori songs, dances, typical and traditional sports of this community, Gurung dishes (food items) including homemade alcohol (raksi).
Tamu Lhosar as a way of culture transformation generation to generation
It is said that culture is developed to fulfill human needs and transformed from one generation to the next generation if it is needed in society. The history of Lhosar indicates that ancient societies have adjusted and reorganized their celebrations to suit their needs. Tamu Lhosar has been practicing not only in the rural villages but also in cities like Kathmandu and outside the country like UK, USA, Qatar, UAE, etc. Likewise, Lhosar has been transforming from generation to generation.