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Chapter Summary

Losar is undoubtedly a rite of passage, from the old year to the new, involving the deliberate exorcism of the evil spirits which threaten life. It also involves a symbolic denial of the processes of ageing and death, a feature of rite of passage rituals throughout the world. However, the symbolism of evil and age that pervades the festival, that which is to be chased away with the past year, is surrounded by music, dancing, eating and drinking, masquerade and pantomime. There is a constant juxtaposition of the forces of age and sickness with symbols of youth and fertility. The author suggests it is possible to detect a subtle challenge to the established social order. It occurs at several points during the festival, particularly in the more exuberant activities of the youth.

Keywords: evil spirits; fertility; Losar; passage rituals; youth



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