On February 24th, 2023, the University of Colorado Boulder ushered in the new Tibetan year of the Water Hare with Losar celebrations. Losar (ལོ་གསར་) meaning New Year in Tibetan is celebrated widely across the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, India, and Bhutan. Taking place on CU Boulder campus for the second time, this year’s Losar cultural program was jointly organized by the Center for Asian Studies (CAS), the Tibet Himalaya Initiative, Department of Anthropology, and the Anderson Language and Technology Center.
The event started with the serving of the ceremonial sweet rice (dresi) – an auspicious food symbolizing prosperity and good fortune— Tibetan butter tea, chai, and Tibetan Losar cookies (khabsey). The khabsey was prepared by the CU Tibetan students with the support and sponsorship of the local Boulder-based Tibetan-owned Cafe, Little Lama Cafe located at Naropa University.
CAS Tibetan Teaching Professor Tenzin Tsepak commenced the Losar celebrations by giving a brief background of Losar and its importance in Tibetan culture. This was followed a simultaneous Tibetan and English reading of a short Tibetan story titled ‘The Hero of the Grassland’ by Gavin Shoew, a first-year Tibetan language student. Aidan Euler, an intermediate Tibetan language student presented on the meaning of the ubiquitous Tibetan mantra Om Mani Padme Hun (ཨོཾ་མ་ཎི་པདྨེ་ཧཱུྃ། ). David Kwei, an intermediate Tibetan language student, presented a short biography of Tibetan writer and poet Gungthang Dawei Lodro, followed by a short poetry reading.
Following the presentations by the Tibetan language students, Samdup, a CU Tibetan student, gave an emotive performance of the Tibetan song titled ‘Samten Lhundup.’ A jovial group performance by the CU Tibetan students through the unity song ‘Ngatso De La Zom Zom’ recharged much enthusiasm into the audience. The event was emceed energetically by Tsering, another CU Tibetan student.
After the closing remarks from Professor Emily Yeh, who encouraged CU students to continue their pursuit of Tibetan and Himalayan studies, the Losar program concluded with dinner catered from Little Lama Café and gorshey (Tibetan circle dance). In the last thirty minutes of the program, students and faculty alike filled the dance floor to learn and bond through Tibetan dance. The evening ended with footsteps beating to the rhythm of the communal dance, sounds of vibrant laughter, and smiling faces. This cultural event brought together CU students, faculty, and the Tibetan community to celebrate and learn about Tibetan and Himalayan culture. The event was attended by 70-80 people, more than double that of last year.