Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Lolay a song sung during Nyinlo (Winter Solstice) that wishes a household prosperity.


Lolay is performed on the eve of “Nyilo” (winter solstice) where young boys and girls go from door to door singing Lolay song wishing every household a very Happy New Year and at the same time earn something, usually eatable items. Later they make a big feast and share whatever is left out. That was big a deal two decades ago. 

Unfortunately, the tradition of Lolay is gradually dying in the country. Young generation feels it is like an act of begging not worth practicing in an economically progressed society. However, they are mistaken. 

They must know that it is a noble act of young minds collectively wishing each family of the household a very Happy New Year at their very doorsteps. Physical presence and wishing is more powerful than exchanging greeting through social medias.

We must revive this tradition and educate our youth to take part during such occasion. Such traditions make Bhutan a unique country.

So here is the standard verse.

“Good New Year! Good New Year! 

Let livestock fill the ground floor, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Good New Year! Good New Year! Let horses fill the entrance, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Good New Year! Good New Year! Let grains fill up the middle floor, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Good New Year! Good New Year! Let sons and daughters fill the house, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Good New Year! Good New Year! Let flagpoles fill the roof, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Good New Year! Good New Year! Let meat fill the meat store, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Good New Year! Good New Year! Let wines fill the wine store, Good New Year! Good New Year!

Now we hear thumping of footsteps, here comes the fortunate host. Picking up the golden phueta, Opening the golden box,

Here come the lavish one phueta of rice, a pair of pork slices, and one sang of butter”.

The family gift them food, snacks and ration for a picnic. 

It must be noted that the household should ensure that the gift includes all essential food items and also given in a good measure thus the family can hope for a good harvest for the coming year. 

It is also believed that the group of children singing “Lolay” should be in odd numbers when visiting homes, as even numbers bring bad luck.


Hope our Kids uphold this tradition. When I was young I have actively participated in Lolay culture.
Image courtesy: His Majesty the King. 
A group of children from schools in Thimphu recited lolay to mark Nyilo  (Winter Solstice in the lunar calendar) before His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen at the Lingkana Palace.