21 Feb Losar among tibetan nomads-food
This year, Tibetans will be celebrating Losar, the Tibetan New Year, on 27 February. Traditions and customs vary during the festivities, so we are offering a brief panorama of what happens in the world of Tibetan nomads during the Losar period.
During this period it is customary to drink a barley flour broth called tsamkhu; other typical foods are: logo, or “new year’s head”, a yak’s, or more rarely a sheep’s, head cooked whole; different kinds of biscuits (khase) and dried fruit; gora, a type of fried bread like paklep common among sedentary peoples, and pholok, a pasta shell filled with meat and fat roasted on the open fire; dzona, or “dzo’s nose”, dough shaped like the nose of a dzo (a yak and cow crossbreed) boiled and then kneaded with crumbled dry cheese and butter; tsökor, pasta discs blended with yogurt, flattened into a doughnut shape and then cooked in butter.
Sometime different kinds of soups are prepared, like gyenlog, a soup with small dough balls filled with meat and cooked in the broth; and dreshathuk, a rice broth containing a lot of meat cooked in it.
The main sweet are shun, made from grinding a tuber called troma into flour then kneaded with melted butter, sugar and molasses; trothü, or trom cake, made mixing flour made form mönkar root mixed with cheese then kneaded with honey. Also made are different shaped biscuits made from flour mixed with milk and honey then fried in butter.
For reasons of space we cannot include all the Losar traditions; those interested can consult:
“Jouney among Tibetan Nomads” by Namkhai Norbu, Paljor Publications, 2002
“Tibetan Folk Song from Gyantse and Western Tibet” di G.Tucci, Ascona 1966
Source: “Journey among Tibetan Nomads” by Namkhai Norbu, Paljor Publications