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Welcoming the New Year, Leh celebrates Galden Namchot

By Kunzang Sukman | Saturday, December 8, 2012
Welcoming the beginning of New Year ‘losar’, Ladakh celebrates Galdan Namchot today with grand fervour and lights. The festival of Galdan Namchot is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Galden Thripa His Holiness Gyalwa Tsonkhapa and also as the Buddhahood of Tsongkhapa.

The Tibetan saint- scholar Tsonkhapa founded the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism during the 14th century. The Gelukpa school later developed as the dominant monastic order in Central Tibet.

“By offering light to the Guru Triple Gem, we create the cause of enlightenment, of liberation from samsara and of the Happiness of future lives. I pray that Ladakhi youths celebrate this losar with peace and a new outlook. I pray that these lights illuminates better life” said Geyshes Thenlais. 

All the monasteries, stupas as well as other public and residential buildings are lit up to present a beautiful sight across Ladakh. The lighting of butter lamps also marks the annihilation of darkness i.e ignorance and thus symbolises vision towards better understanding of dhamma and life.

With Galdan Namchot, Ladakh also marks the beginning of the Losar celebrations. The ladakhis follow the Tibetan Lunar calendar, accordingly the 25th of the 10th month i.e today (8th December) is held as Galdan Namchot and losar follows after 5 days. 

Turning back to history, it is said that earlier Ladakh celebrated losar with the Tibetans in the 12th tibetans’ month. But due to a scene of war to Skardo during reign of king Jamyang Namgyal, Ladakh had to celebrate the losar two months before. As such the custom of celebrating it in the 10th month prevailed.

People prepare all kinds of traditional dishes such as the thukpa, momos and the popular butter tea is served in almost all the houses. People visit friends and families and hold feasts together. There is festive spirit in the year.

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