The Preliminary session of The Maha Gutor Puja-2011 DAY 1

View video on YouTube:

A thangka of the “Wheel of Life’ is displayed in the opening minutes of the video. The Maha Gutor puja was being conducted at the premises of Shar Gaden.

Gutor = Day before New Year’s Eve (29th day of the 12th lunar month)

Usually, explanations of Tibetan festivals start by looking at the New Year’s Day celebrations. However, the year’s end is also of special importance and Tibetans observe ‘Gutor’ while they are busy preparing for the New Year’s Day.

Preparations for New Year start about two weeks before the day and people arrange their religious offerings, buy new dress clothes, food and drink for the feasts etc. The feasts include a substantial amount of ‘Dresi’ a sweet buttered rice with added raisins, ‘Droma’, which is rice boiled with small potatoes, various meats, fruits, breads, chang, butter tea among others. ‘Kapse’, a fried sweet fritter that comes in different shapes and forms, are a must. Tibetans are supposed to see in the New Year with these sweets piled high on their tray.

On ‘Gutor’, Tibetan families eat ‘Guthuk’ a soup with dumplings, in the evening. The dumplings contain beans, broken pieces of wood, chilies, wool, charcoal, or pieces of paper on which various words are written. People eat them in turn and they tell their New Year’s fortune by checking what the fillings of the dumpling they chose. There is also a game played at this time where some of the family members decide on an unlucky mark in advance and the one who picks it has to do a forfeit.

Following this everyone participates in the original purpose of ‘Gutor’, which is to exorcise the evil spirits from the previous year by running around with a doll representing a fierce god, setting off fireworks, and hand-held firecrackers. On the 30th, New Year’s Eve, Tibetans clean their houses and then wait in anticipation for the following festivities.


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