An introduction of Ghale of New Year (Ghale Lhosar)


 Li: La = Ghale
Lho =     Year(Barga)
Sar =.     New

I wish you all the best on the auspicious occasion of Ghale New Year’s Day! Namaskar (Shyuba -Khyang) to all the Ghale families and beloved friends living in the United Kingdom and all over the world!

We, Ghale Communities, have been celebrating Magh the 1st as a special and auspicious day for ages. We are very proud to celebrate this day as our cultural festival. We exchange best wishes to each other of the Ghale communities and friends, bidding farewell to the Taa Lho (year of tiger) and welcoming the new year, which is Yoye Lho (year of the cat).

Question: Why Ghale tribes (caste) celebrate Ghale New Year on the 1st of Magh?

Answer:- It is a cycle of 12 years which starts from 1st of Magh. Every year has different names after animals. The first year starts with the Year of the Cat and it goes round with different 12 animals’ names and returns to the original after 12 years which is called Lho Thopa or Barga (year of new cycle).

The 12 Barga (years) are as follows:

2.Yoye (Cat)
3.Mugh (Eagle)
4.Bri (Snake)
5.Tah (Horse)
6.Lhuke (Sheep)
7.Pra (Monkey)
8.Jhya (Bird)
9.Khee (Dog)
10.Phaa (Deer)
11.Jyuwa (Rat)
12.Laung (Cow)

According to astrology, at the midnight of 1st Magh the sun moves towards the northern hemisphere to Tropic of Cancer which makes the days longer and warmer. In ancient days (until about 5 hundred years), the Ghale kings had directed that all the last year’s businesses should be closed before the last day of Poush. All the uncompleted works supposed to close before the 1st of Magh, such as making blankets, making carrying Bakhu, baby carrying baskets, banking businesses, building new houses, making grains stores etc. Once all the outstanding last year’s tasks were completed, we would celebrate the new day as a new year, a fresh beginning of life, a fresh start of Lho, the Lho of Cat.
According to history, in 1559 Bikram Sambat, a Shah king killed the Ghale king with the support of other tribes. After that our recognition and cultures were collapsed and destroyed. We, Ghales, are very rich with our own tradition, culture, language and religion. We believe in Buddhism. We welcome our new year by lighting the lamps, sacrificing a male sheep and worshiping our family god by our eldest member in the family or by our priests such as Jaisi (fortune teller), Dangre,Dhami or Jhakri (witch doctor).

Some traditional events take place on the day of New Year:

  1. Family give away breads, yams, rice puddings and new clothes, if you are well off as souvenirs (Khesro) in a bamboo basket to the daughters.
  2. Starting making new items such as baskets, blankets etc.
  3. Prayers and worshiping of god by the priests (Lama, Jaisi, Jhankri and
    Gothala (shepherd or cattle carer) and villagers bring in the flowers as offerings.
  4. Lho Thopa (start of next cycle of 12 years) is celebrated by sacrificing a male sheep or cockerel.
  5. New work is started with an auspicious time decided by Lama, Dhami or a Jhakri by looking the stars at 4 directions at night.
  6. Gothala (shepherd) decides an auspicious time at the funeral of someone’s death, moving a sheep shed or a cow shed.

Note: We don’t celebrate our Lhosar on 15 Poush as it has longer day and shorter night.
Question: Which tribes (castes) have been recognised by the Nepalese government?
The Nepalese Ministerial Council has cancelled some of the public holidays which some tribes used to observe such as; Tamu Lhosar, Tamang and Sherpa’s Sonam Lochhar and Gelbo Lochhar but they haven’t recognised Ghale Lhosar yet. National Ingenious Tribes/Castes Promotional Foundation Constitution 2058 Bikram Sambat has recognised all the ingenious tribes/castes with their own language, tradition, culture, social structure and some written or unwritten history.

There are 142 castes and 124 languages in Nepal.
On 11 Baisakh 2074 Bikram Sambat, there were 98 minorities castes announced by the Nepalese government and we, Ghales, were in Number 40.

At referendum Ghale’s Caste Code is Number: 67. Ghale language Code is Number: 52.
Shyuba-Khyang(Thank you).

Dhan Ghale
(Recently in UK)
Promoter General Secretary
Indigenous Caste Federation, United Kingdom.

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