Sunday, January 10, 2016

Comprehending Chunipai Losar ( Ist day of 12th Lunar Month ).

For the last many years, the 1st day of 12th Lunar Month was declared a national holiday. Long before that it seems it was celebrated as a Traditional Day in the Eastern regions of Bhutan. Going by reasons put forth, the Day is supposed to be a Day of  Offerings from harvested crops to Shabdrung.

However, there is no notable harvest that takes place during the 11th and 12th Lunar months. Also it cannot be an Offering to Shabdrung because he had died before Chhoegyel Minjur Tenpa brought the Eastern regions under the Central Authority.

Perhaps the 30th day of 11th Lunar Month was the official final day of Tax Collections for the Eastern regions. So it must have been a rest and relief day on the 1st day of the 12th Lunar Month. Not exactly a day to celebrate for joys but at least for the good riddence of the burdensome taxes for the year.

During those feudal days,the burden of taxes was heavy and merciless. Taxes were in kinds like paddy for owning rice fields and butter for owning cow. In addition other material taxes were levied though the products were not grown or manufactured by the farmers. Then there were conscripted human labour and porterage taxes.

The Chunipai Losar maybe rooted in the East but all Bhutanese citizens of those gone by days laboured to keep the State and the many layers of feudal hierarchy well stocked and fed. It is important that we join hands and hearts to pay tributes to all our ancestors for bearing the burden of funding the State administration and contributing to national sovereignty.

In today's parlance, this day could be the 1st of March for the Payers of Personal Income Taxes the final payment day being the last day of the month of February. But today we do not bear the pain of sweating from the bones or heartburns from oppressions that were prevalent during those feudal and theocratic history.

I feel I celebrated the Day in the most satisfying way.  Reading Prayers to Jampelyang under the shade of a garden umbrella. It was bright and warm with the sun shining and constant supply of drinks and snacks. And the great weather during this historic memorial observation made a Great Day !  Thank you most Kadrinchhewai honourable ancestors of all regions of Bhutan for the national dignity you have cultivated for all generations of Bhutanese.

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