The 1st day of the 12th lunar month is celebrated as New Year’s Day according to the custom of the ancient land of Zhang Zhung that included a vast geographical area including Tibet and parts of Nepal and the area previously known as Persia. In 2021, this date coincides with January 14th on the Western calendar. More precisely, in 2021 the lunar calendar for the 12th month has no 1st day and begins with the 2nd lunar day. Subtracting a date or doubling a date is not uncommon in the Tibetan lunar calendar and is according to astrological calculations.
This New Year’s Day, Losar in the Tibetan language, is also known as Sonam Losar, Himalayan Losar, or Peasants Losar. It continues to be widely celebrated in Dolpo, Nepal as well as in select other regions of Tibet. Originally, it was celebrated as the beginning of the New Year throughout all of Tibet. However, the modern date that is celebrated by all Tibetans as the beginning of the new year is the 1st day of the 1st lunar month. This is the Royal New Year and in 2021 that date coincides with February 12th.
For those celebrating today as New Year’s Day it is the beginning of the Iron Elephant year.
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