Ny­in­glo marks Bhutanese New Year

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Nyinlo, win­ter sol­stice, is cel­e­brated as the be­gin­ning of new year in Bhutan.

The day is cel­e­brated on the sev­enth day of the eleventh month of the Bhutanese cal­en­dar. This year it fell on 2 Jan­uary.

From the win­ter sol­stice, the days get longer with shorter nights or late sunset and early dawn. The day re­minds the peo­ple of the length­en­ing days ahead.

The day is mostly cel­e­brated by peo­ple liv­ing in the west­ern dis­tricts of the coun­try, like Thim­phu, Pu­nakha, Wang­due Pho­drang, Paro and Haa.

Ac­cord­ing to an old age prac­tice, on that day, chil­dren form groups and visit ev­ery house­hold recit­ing lo­lay verses and wish­ing good luck for that house.

Lo­lay verse re­cited by the chil­dren is ex­pected to bring good luck and fruit­ful year for dif­fer­ent house­holds.

In re­turn, the house owner gives the chil­dren a gift that in­cludes ed­i­ble things like rice, meat, but­ter, eggs and noned­i­ble things like money.

A day af­ter Nyinlo, the chil­dren go for a pic­nic with the items that they col­lected by recit­ing Lo­lay.

Lo­lay can be trans­lated as a good year.

Tsh­er­ing, 23, said that Nyinlo is the best oc­ca­sion cel­e­brated with the fam­ily to in­vite New Year. He added that he was hop­ing for a suc­cess­ful year ahead.

Ac­cord­ing to sci­en­tific stud­ies, win­ter sol­stice is the short­est day and long­est night for the north­ern part of the earth. How­ever, it is just the op­po­site in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

Dur­ing the De­cem­ber sol­stice, the earth is po­si­tioned in its or­bit so that the sun stays be­low the North Pole hori­zon.

Kuen­zang Gyelt­shen, a khenpo, said that Nyinlo ba­si­cally means the re­turn of sun and is a start of longer days.

He said that as per re­li­gious books, when the days be­come short it is called north move­ment (jang­dro) as sun travel to­wards north (jang).

Sim­i­larly when the days be­come longer it is called south move­ment (lho­dro) as sun re­turns slowly to­ward south (lho) from the king of the moun­tain (Rhi-Gyalpo Rhi).

He also said that dur­ing jang­dro there is a huge dis­tance be­tween earth and sun which leads to shorter day with cold weather. Like­wise, dur­ing lho­dro, the sun and earth start to come closer mak­ing days longer and warmer.

The day is be­lieved to be the most aus­pi­cious day of the year since the day marks the re­turn of the sun.

Nyinlo is an an­cient prac­tice that is still fol­lowed to­day and the day is con­sid­ered as a na­tional hol­i­day.

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