Celebrating My Asian Identity During Losar

by Tenzing Chosang
Also Featured on KQED

Celebrating My Asian Identity During Losar

by Tenzing Chosang
Also Featured on KQED
02.25.21
Photo courtesy of Tenzing Chosang
02.25.21

Depending on your culture, the new year is celebrated with different traditions. For me, I celebrate Tibetan New Year — we call it Losar. And it’s a three-day celebration. 

My family and I usually visit various Tibetan temples and go to a huge potluck to celebrate with other Tibetan families. Going to a school with over 3,000 students with only a handful of Tibetans, has led me to push my identity aside and made me lose pride in who I am, and where I come from. But on Losar I am once again able  to feel proud of my heritage. 

I get to dress up in a traditional Tibetan dress — a chupa. Showing off my culture is extremely important to me, especially now as attacks on Asian Americans have increased — causing a rush of fear in the Asian community. 

This year, because of COVID-19, Losar was different; I celebrated it with just my immediate family. 

The day before Losar my mom set up a derga, which is an altar that serves as a symbol to invoke blessings into our lives. 

My mom and I spent a whole day cleaning our house from top to bottom. I dread this tradition every year because men are exempt from cleaning.

On Losar morning, we ate a traditional Tibetan breakfast. Then everyone dressed up in our chupas, and like always, we complained as my mom forced us to take pictures. She claims that, “if we don’t take pictures now, we’ll have none to look back on.” But I know it’s just so she can post on Facebook.  

Celebrating under COVID restrictions was very different. But I’m glad we were able to preserve traditions during Losar. Regardless of the recent wave of anti-Asian attacks, our celebration was filled with love and joy.