Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Lomba Means to the People of Western Bhutan

Smelling 2012 Hoentey
Lomba is the single most important annual celebration in the two western Dzongkhags of Haa and Paro and this year interestingly it fell on 12/12/12, the date many people are looking at with great emotions. I grew in village and I have been part of Lomba celebration throughout my childhood. Every year on this day I become child again, and without feasting on Hoentey I can't get my hands on anything, that's why I am blogging so late today. I drove to Punakha and had my 2012 lomba hoentey from my aunti's hand.
Haaps, as I know, are very dumb working people who would spend best portion of their lives working and they don't celebrate many occasion rest of the Bhutanese do, but Lomba is an exception and perhaps the sum total of all celebrations. Our forefather must have found it wiser to celebrate many occasions in one so that we could save time for work for the rest of the days in the year.

  1. Lomba is our New Year: We sing Lolay Lolay rhyme, thank god for the good year we had and make wishes for the new year. We greet each other Lolay, meaning good new year. We perform a small ceremony at home to drive of the evil and bring in the health, happiness and prosperity for new year. Tonight my young brother is performing this ceremony at home. I miss it so bad.
  2. Lomba is our Thruelbub (Blessed Rainy Day): We clean every corner of our house, wash every piece of cloth, and every member of the family take their turn for menchu (hot stone bath). The importance of this annual cleansing is considered as much as rest of Bhutan considers Thrulbub. It's no more a new thing to do that, it's part of daily chore for most families nowadays, but there were time when Lomba cleansing used to be our annual event. River would turn dark with our dirt. Everybody seemed to have removed a thick layer of skin from their faces. O' those days!
  3. Lomba is our Common Birthday: Every Haap considers themselves one year older after lomba. It's was only after the new Citizenship ID card was issued that people realized the importance of their own birthdays, before then lomba was our common birthday. A baby born days before lomba would be consider two years old after lomba because we count nine months in womb as a year as well. Our folks seem to enjoy the idea of growing old fast so much. Happy birthday to all my folks.
  4. Lomba is our Food Festival: The signature food of Haa, and also the central piece of Lomba is our Hoentey. It's our pride and the it's perhaps the only dish from our region known across the country. Lomba is the day we consider so auspicious to prepare out best food and feast on it. Some families make thousands of hoentey to be presented as gift to friends and families across the country. 
  5. Lomba is our Annual Family Gathering: On lomba parents expect all their children to leave aside everything and join the rest of the member of the annual gathering. Well this part makes me emotional and damn guilty. I always want to leave aside everything and run home on this day but this is my third damn year that I haven't been able to make it. This is the only time I hate my job, because my job has kept me away. I know how my mother is feeling about it, I only wish she sees me through and understand how much I wish to be home tonight.
Lolay, lolay, to all my readers, friends and family, near and far. If you are nearby please join me in two day to taste my mother's hoentey, she is sending me hoentey day after tomorrow. Lolay, Lolay!


5 comments:

  1. Hi Passu, Happy Lomba for you and ur families!!! I was just about to ask you in fb what Lomba means, but you've already explained it here :) Now it has become very clear, only that, what is hoentey???:D I wish I'm nearby so can taste ur Mother's hoentey ^^

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  2. Happy Lomba Passu, I should have dropped by to your place had i known you and your residence :)I was there at Bajo the whole day today.

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  3. Happy lomba and happy hoenty eating to u and ur family sir and yeah....lolay lolay...!!:D

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  5. lolay lolay to passu sir..n whole of your family. May this brand new year brings more happiness and success to you and your family...
    Enjoy hoentey to the fullest....

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