English | Dzongkha Sunday, January 20, 2019

Reviving the tradition of Lolay

Passang Dorji, Thimphu
Jan 3, 2018

The tradition of Lolay is what sets Nyilo apart from other New Year celebrations in the country. In the good old days, Lolay chants would reverberate through villages in Wang-Tsho-Chen-Gey region as children visit every home, merrily singing the traditional verse of good wishes.

However, the age-old tradition saw its popularity wane as winds of change, or rather the so-called modernisation, swept through Bhutan rapidly over the years.

In a bid to revive the age-old tradition, a group of Thimphu students visited the Lhengye Densa in Mothithang yesterday on Nyilo, singing Lolay.

What these group of children did used to be a tradition practiced with much fun and excitement in the past. Today, children gleefully singing Lolay is a rare sight. As people embraced so-called modern lifestyles, traditional new year practices like Lolay took a big hit.

Lolay has been there since our grandparents’ time, but it is not very popular today,” Kinley Gyeltshen, one of the students, said. “That’s why we have all come here to preserve the age old tradition.”

“I love chanting Lolay so much,” Tenzin Dendup said. “I am here also to do my bit in keeping the tradition alive.”

Rigdhen Tshengyel, another student in the group, recited Lolay for the first time today. “I feel like I am doing my part in preserving the tradition,” Reigdhen said.

Rinzin Wangmo thinks a small initiative like the one they took part in today could go a long way in reviving the tradition. “We want to set examples for our friends,” she said.

Nyilo is celebrated as New Year mainly by the people of Thimphu and Punakha, together referred to as Wang-Tsho-Chen-Gey.


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