On 23rd December, people of Haa were blessed with the visit by His Majesty the King and her Majesty the Queen to celebrate the happi lomba. The lomba is celebrated on the 29th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is the onset of New Year for the Haaps and parops. Happi Hontoe (dumpling) is the specialty of the day. House hold members compete to eat Hontoe. Hontoe is a special dumpling made of barley flour with ingredients such as dried spinach, turnip, cheese, butter, pepper, red chilly powder, and salt. These days people even mix fresh spinach, cabbage and mix the maida with barley flour. Taste of hontoe differs from one house to another. It depends entirely on the mixture of the in gredients. The size and shape of the hontoe also differ from one another.
I was reminiscing my childhood on this year’s Lomba. As a young kid back in the village we used to go around singing ‘Lolay’ from one house to another. ‘Lolay’ is a song wishing people happy New Year, good luck, success and happiness for the year. Those days we didn’t understand what we were singing. We did it for the sheer pleasure of it and off course the excitement of getting something in return for singling lolay would add to the charm. Those days most people used to give us in kinds, like hontoe, some meat, rice etc. Few would give in cash and we would vie for that.