In a rare fashion and much with great pomp and show, the formerly resettled Bhutanese Gurung families in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania celebrated Tamu Losar on January 2, 2016 respectively. This is observed ushering in the new Gurungs’ calendar. The literary meaning of Losar comes from two parts of a word, Lo means Year and sar means new, the new year that is in parallel with the English Calendar. The Tamu Losar marks the beginning of the Tamu Sambat or Gurung Calendar Year. Interestingly, according to the Tamu (Gurung) calendar, it is their 2599th year of Losar. The Gurung people divide their years into 12 cycles, with a special name of one of the 12 animals for each year. The day of Tamu Losar indicates the end of winter and start of Spring season, which is another reason to fill the joy in the community.
The Gurung community of Pittsburgh celebrated the Tamu Losar, 2016 (the year of the monkey) on Saturday, the 2nd of January. The day started with a special ceremony and prayers by the lamas Bhim Gurung (Namgyal Lama), and Lal Bahadur Gurung (Sonam Lama) for eliminating bad fortune and evils of the past year and wishing for a prosperous new year. It then followed by wang (Blessings) offering by the lamas. Various musical shows and dances were performed. Losar celebration is characterized by the get-together of all family members of all generations to exchange love and good wishes. On the occasion, many men were attired with Bhangra, white cloth shirt-like apparel tied across the chest and open like a bag at the back (for carrying things). The Gurung women, both children and adolescents were seen wearing Ghalek (blouses).
Usually, Losar celebration by the Gurungs in Pittsburgh lacked space to organize in the past. Fortunately, the management of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Brentwood, PA, was very kind this time to avail the space to observe the event. The Church has a big area for kitchen and dining where over 400 individuals were served with cultural foods on the day. Speaking to BNS, one of the organizers, Mr.Chitra Gurung told BNS that the number of attendees increased this year way higher than previous years. He thinks that it is because of the location, which is closer to their homes and a better space. The celebration was filled with some live musical performances, and dances, in Nepali, and in Gurung songs. A group of Dancers also performed a dance in Dzongkha (Bhutanese Official Language), which was emblematic of in its own. Some attendees expressed nostalgia in watching the dance.
Meanwhile, the president of the Gurung Community of Pittsburgh Mr.Laxman Gurung told BNS, “This Losar was comparatively a better and more successful than the ones of the past years, and we’ll strive to make it better and bigger in the coming years passing on the cultural values to our forthcoming generation.”
Pittsburgh is a home of approximately one hundred Gurung families. Some of them are resettled directly and some of them came as secondary migrants in the course of uniting with their families and relatives. Many Gurungs’ preference to live in Pittsburgh is the topography of the land, as Pittsburgh is hilly, partly like Bhutan and the friendliness of the people here all that matter.