MONDAY, February 24 marks the beginning of Losar - the Tibetan New Year.

Losar is celebrated by Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhists throughout the world.

These days it is seen as a religious and cultural festival but it roots predate Buddhism.

It has similarities to Chinese New Year. Each year has a symbolism and characteristics.

This coming year is the year of the male iron rat.

This sounds unpleasant to our ears so I am interested that in the USA it is being called the year of the ‘metal mouse or rodent’!

However in Tibetan traditions the male iron rat symbolises thrift and industry, with qualities of intuition, positivity and likeable personality.

Prior to Losar each family prepares with a massive house-clean.

The first day is for religious and family ceremonies.

Subsequent days are for community celebrations.

There is usually partying, dancing and much feasting.

Sadly this year many festivities in Tibet and surrounding areas have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.

But the core of Losar is rededication to our highest motivations and to working for the benefit of all beings.

So it is right that we look to The Dalai Lama as we prepare for Losar:

“In the face of all the challenges of today’s world, is optimism about the future of humanity idealistic?

“Perhaps it is.

“Is it unrealistic? Certainly not.

“To remain indifferent to the challenge we face is indefensible.

“If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realised within our lifetimes is largely irrelevant.

“What me must do, therefore, is to strive and persevere and never give up.”

l For more thoughts for the week visit