The joyous moments of "Tuqia" before "Losar"

A cartoon picture shows "Tuqia", a Tibetan transliteration also translated as “Tuqi”, specifically refering to house cleaning that occurs before “Losar”, Tibetan transliteration of New Year. [Photo/]

The most important cleaning for Tibetans is the “Tuqia” that takes place at the end of December on the Tibetan calendar before the Tibetan New Year.

Tuqia, a Tibetan transliteration also translated as “Tuqi”, specifically refers to house cleaning that occurs before “Losar”, Tibetan transliteration of New Year.

I remember when I was young, my father would lift me up so that I can do the “first sweep” in one of the high corners every time “Tuqia” started. After this step is completed, the whole family began to clean as is customary.

According to division of labor, my father is often responsible for the whole cleaning, while my mother and we sisters do the washing and my brothers sweep the floor and clean the rubbish.

This form of “lucky housework” always fills one with joy as it is full of symbolism and wishes for family fortune and happiness.

During the work, the interesting aspects of life become topic of conversation. One funny moment may cause father to rub soot all over his face and mother to bend over laughing. We brothers and sisters usually chase about, making "Tuqia” full of warmth and affection.

The judges of “Tuqia” are father and mother, and whoever get the highest score might receive the largest red envelope.

The most tiring “Tuqia” takes place in rural families. The first priority for each household is to thoroughly clean the house and courtyard, pave new soil and sprinkle water.

For families still using a traditional mud stove, they also clean it thoroughly on this day so that they can make decorations on it on New Year’s Eve, when walls of the kitchen will be painted lotuses, conchs and a type of auspicious pattern passing on from the ancient Tibetan Bon sect and other auspicious patterns with Zanba, a kind of food made of barley, to pray happy life for the next year.

After “Tuqia”, the clean house reminds the whole family that “Losar” is arriving, and they have to make preparations for it.

As I pursue my study far away from home, I missed the family “Tuqia” too many times.

Now I’ve grown up, I really look forward to the joyous occasion of “Tuqia” when the whole family is cleaning and laughing. And I can’t help but be in a happy mood as I’m about to take part in this warm moment. I will gladly pick up the broom and do my best to complete the “first sweep”.