A woman in Toedtsho gewog prepares for Losar

A woman in Toedtsho gewog prepares for Losar

Neten Dorji | Trashigang

If not for the pandemic, Thukten Lhadon from Jangphutse village in Trashiyangtse would be in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, India, today.

In the past years, she went to Tawang to celebrate Chunipa losar with her relatives and invite them over on the third day. “But this year, we have to celebrate losar within the family.”

Like Thukten, residents of Trashigang and Trashiyangtse will celebrate Chunipa losar within their family today.

Popularly known as Sharchopa losar, people in the east usually celebrated the traditional day of offering grandly.

But dzongkhag officials have asked residents to restrict the celebration within their family this year.

Norbu, 70, from Rabti in Trashiyangtse said with restriction, people are not showing much interest.

In the past, people of Rabti celebrated the losar for two days. They refer to the first day as losar ngoma and the second day as losar zhagma.

A villager, Tenzinla, 73 said villagers would not gather to drink zomchang and play together.

A village tshogpa, Thukten Tashi said men went to other gewogs to play archery in the past. “Women would come together and dance.”

In Merak gewog, men play archery and women play a game called Kolokpa on losar.

Merak gup Lam Rinchen said after the games, people come home to drink and dance until dawn.  “People carry ara and drink together. We call it duenchang.”

He, however, said the gewog asked people not to play the games and also not to gather for duenchang this time. “People signed an undertaking letter with the gewog administration stating they would abide by rules of lockdown.”

Meanwhile, dzongkhags officials also notified people to adhere to the Covid-19 protocol and not to play archery and go for picnics.

The notification stated that non-adherence to the Covid-19 protocol will be dealt as per the Penal Code of Bhutan.