Tibetans start their New Year celebrations

11:17, March 05, 2011      

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Firecrackers and prayer flags, Tibetan and Mandarin Chinese food, Buddhist rituals, singing and dancing -- together all indicate that Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is just around the corner.

The start of the Year of Iron Rabbit, which begins Saturday, is a carnival for China's 5 million Tibetans and celebrations will last more than two weeks.

Tibetan woman Yeshe Drolkar happily shared a huge pot of Guthuk, a traditional Tibetan barley crumb snack with filling, also known as "29th dumplings," with a group of young men and women Thursday night to celebrate the "ghost-exorcising festival."

The festival, which falls on the 29th day of the last Tibetan month of the year, features family reunions and lighting of fireworks and torches and is similar to Chinese New Year's Eve in many ways.

Yeshe Drolkar served each guest a bowl of Guthuk and seasoned it with chili sauce and yak milk curd. Like family, they sat around the table, chatted and devoured the food.

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