Tuesday, February 9, 2016

When did or does Male Fire Monkey Year start in Bhutan?

If you refer to Kuensel issue today you might,  like quire a few others along with Kuensel, assume the Male Fire Monkey Year begins today the 9th of February.  For Chinese and Tibetans the Male Fire Monkey year began yesterday the 8th February. Their Losar fell on 8th February this year a day ahead of Bhutanese.

For Bhutan,  Male Fire Monkey year actually began on the 30th of the Bhutanese 10the Lunar month. In the Dratsang , one week rituals are performed to bid the old year goodbye and for blessing the New Year. The ritual ends on the 29th of the 10th Lunar month with the Lue ( kind of religious effigies ) procession at the end of which the effigies are set on fire. Thus the New Year starts fresh and blessed on the 30th of the 10th Lunar month.

This fact explains why the baby Prince born on 5th February is proclaimed to be born in the Male Fire Monkey Year.

I do not know why the animal sign cycle begins this way in Bhutan. Maybe it is to do with the Bon religion. In my village some ritual associated with Lombo are of Bon culture. Lombo or New year celebration in Haa and Paro Dzobgkhags occurs from 29th of 10th Lunar Month to 1st of 11th Month. Any baby born on and after 30th Lunar Month will be considered to be adopted by the new animal sign.

Traditionally Losar in Bhutan was celebrated by officials. Each Dzongkhag have budget set aside for the celebration. It was considered as the King's New Year. Bhutanese Losar had no significance on the animal sign. General common Bhutanese celebrated their own calendar of New Year the first being Lombo followed by Nyinlo and Chunipai.

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