700 youths come together to recite Lolay

About 700 youths, teamed up in several groups recited Lolay on the eve of winter solstice or Nyilo, moving from house to house to sing the good luck bringer in Thimphu. The students recited the age-old verses of Lolay since Sunday at eleven locations in the capital. 

Lolay which means “prosperous year” is a traditional recitation commonly practised in western Bhutan. During Nyilo, the recital is mostly done by the children of Shar and Wang regions consisting of Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang and Thimphu districts.

For the event in Thimphu, the youths gathered together in different groups in different locations and practised Lolay for five days.

The youths voluntarily participated in the programme to keep themselves engaged during their winter vacation.

“As singing Lolay is an old tradition, we feel proud when we gather with our friends, knock on others’ doors and sing for them.  These days because of modernisation, there are not many children who sing Lolay. So, when we practise it, I think we are helping preserve our tradition,” said Tenzin Wangchuk, a participant.

“I was very happy to sing Lolay. We sing it to bring joy to the families. That’s why, I thought singing Lolay is better than wasting our time this winter vacation,” said Chimi Sonam Namgay, a participant.

The initiative is part of an orientation and training programme on Buddhism and Culture for youths.

The programme is conducted by the central monastic body in collaboration with the Desuung Nangchoe Programme.

The initiative is an effort to preserve traditions such as Lolay by educating the youth on their importance.

Tandin Phub, the coordinator said, “The programme will go on for a month and it has only been two weeks since it started. The students will remain engaged till the 25th of this month.  We will support them as much as we can instead of leaving them idle during the break.”

Similarly, in Punakha, people of all ages gather together to sing the traditional recitation and have a good time.

“In my opinion, the reason why we recite Lolay is because the verses are filled with prayers for good health and prosperity the next year. There is no such thing as Lolay should only be recited by the children or the elderly people. But I see young people gather interest and recite Lolay together,” said Kinley Dorji from Jigmethang, Dzomi Gewog, Punakha.

With a bag full of gifts, the children go back home happily, rejoicing at the surprises and the fortune that lay in store with the start of the new year.

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