This past February while on Assignment for MyBhutan, I was fortunate enough to be in the Bumthang district of Bhutan during their New Year’s festival known as Losar. It is a festival that reinforces communal ties, strengthens family values and celebrates the amazing cultural traditions of Bhutan. Everyone celebrates differently doing things such as feasting, attending family gatherings, dancing or playing traditional sports like archery and darts.

While out one morning during Losar, I ended up at a small monastery full of young monks. Shortly after I arrived, I saw them run and throw hand fulls of flour at each other. At first, I thought it was part of a prank but then learned that they were preparing to take part in a much larger traditional flour battle in celebration of Losar. With the majority of monks worshipping inside the temple, a small group of other monks gathered outside to ambush them as they exited.

As the monks finished their worship ceremonies and exited the temple, they were quickly bombarded with friendly hand fulls of flour. As strange of a festival as it may appear, the throwing of roasted barley flour on each other is a symbolic gesture, observed in many monasteries around the country, to usher in Losar.

Photographing the flour battle was some of the most fun I’ve ever had while shooting.

Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang

Throughout the entire morning, the monks made me feel completely welcome and made it such an incredible experience. They even invited me into the battle and spent so much time kindly teaching me their traditional dances and songs before inviting me inside for lunch.

 

One monk was kind enough to record the video of me going through the lineup. I never got his name but I’m beyond thankful he was able to capture this memory for me. I can’t express how welcoming all the monks were to me. I felt so fortunate to spend Losar with them and hope to be back again next year.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read! If you’re interested in visiting Bhutan, I highly recommend getting in touch with MyBhutan to plan your trip!