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Traditions and taboos in Losar

People of the Tibetan ethnic group wearing traditional costumes take part in a ceremony for spring ploughing in Daga Village of Quxu County in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, March 5, 2014. Photo: Xinhua

On the first day of Losar (Tibetan New Year), it is the tradition for housewives to wake up early in order to prepare highland barley wine for the whole family.

Each family member has to drink a cup of highland barley wine in bed and then go back to sleep while the housewife sits in front of the window, waiting for the sunrise. As soon as they see the first ray of sunshine, they then go to fetch the first bucket of water of the year from the well. According to the Tibetan custom, whoever fetches the first bucket of water will be blessed with luck for the entire year.

There are many traditions and taboos during Losar, for example visiting relatives and friends outside your house is prohibited on the first day – this tradition in particular is very different from the Spring Festival celebrated in inland China. Some other traditions and taboos during Losar are:

1. Parents shouldn't shout at their kids or scold them on the first day of Losar.

2. Every family needs to fill up their water jar without spilling anyon the first day of Losar, otherwise they may have bad luck in the new year.

3. People shouldn't throw manure outside their houses, and shouldn't lend anything to others or they will lose opportunities to make money from their livestock in the new year, nor will never get rich.

4. Eating a lot of food during Losar is suggested because it's believed to attract good fortune so the family will be wellfed for the whole year.

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