Tibet is one of the most mysterious places on earth, with many unique phenomena, natural wonders, and cultural singularities that make it intriguing to outsiders. Yet to Tibetans, Tibet is simply "home," and at home in Tibet the biggest celebration of the year is Losar, the Tibetan New Year, and no Losar celebration is complete without 'khapsay'!
Khapsay is a much-anticipated pastry snack that comes out for Losar celebrations each year. For weeks leading up to the holiday, folks all over Tibet will be frying up enough of this crispy, flaky treat to keep their friends and family stocked for the upcoming celebration.
To make khapsay, a dough of wheat flour is rolled out into thin sheets and folded into different shapes, and then deep fried in butter and oil.
The final product is a light, flaky pastry that can take a number of different shapes, such as butterflies, lotus flowers, ears, or many others - any of which are sure to be gobbled up immediately by the excited recipient! Not only for eating though, this festival necessity can also be a piece of art for memorial ceremonies or stacked together to form an offering pile, or used symbolically to welcome guests and visitors coming from afar. Khapsay can also be colored, with the different styles and colors used to symbolize different qualities of the hostess: diligence, wisdom or enthusiasm, for example.
As Losar approaches, in February each year, the local khapsay bakeries even need to hire extra hands to keep up with the booming demand that comes once a year. Many local women and students home on break jump on the chance to work this busy but short-lived time to make extra pocket money for the many other Losar festival necessities!
Come to Tibet for Losar and see the smiles and the celebration in full swing. While you're there, swing by a Tibetan bazaar and buy some khapsay to round out the unique glamour and happy atmosphere of Tibetan New Year!