Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue 

If not for the global pandemic, this time, Dawa Tshering, 30, would be preparing for an archery match in Lupzur, Sephu, in Wangdue with his friends.

Dawa Tshering said that no special orders were placed for Nyilo this time. “We would be using what we already have.”

Similarly, in Gangtey, farmers show no enthusiasm over the approaching Nyilo.

Nyilo (winter solstice) falls this year on January 2, corresponding to the 30th day of the 11th Bhutanese calendar month. Nyilo is an important festival celebrated in Wang and Shar region of western Bhutan.

With the extension of the second nationwide lockdown, Nyilo celebration will be confined within their family.

Gangtey’s Akhorok Tshogpa Yangka said that in the past, children would visit home singing Lolay. The Lolay verses wishes households a good year and riches and prosperity.

In Busa-Ziri chiwog, 12 groups with around nine individuals each in a group would venture the preceding night of Nyilo to sing Lolay.

Busa-Ziri Tshogpa Tashi Dorji said that each of the six villages in the chiwog would have two groups—a group of children mostly below 15 years and a group of adult men. “While children will mostly collect rice, meat visiting every house, men would dance to at least three songs and drink.”

In Lupzur village, the Lolay recitation, which starts around 7:30pm would end past mid-night.

Today, local leaders have informed all individuals about  the restrictions on the movement.

“With country in such difficult times, we understand these restrictions and there won’t be much celebration,” Dawa Tshering said.