LONDON: Jointly organised by the Office of Tibet, London and Tibetan Community in Britain, Ka-trin: Festival of Tibetan Culture was held at the London Irish Centre, Camden on Saturday, 7 July.
Despite the unusual hot weather and the festival timing coinciding with England’s quarterfinal match in the FIFA World Cup 2018, visitors turned up in reasonable numbers to attend the festival.
The monks of Tashi Lhunpo monastery set the tone for the festival by blowing the ceremonial trumpets (dungchen) as visitors gathered in the main hall of the spacious venue. The opening of the festival began with the monks reciting Long-Life prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, following which Mr Chonpel Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the UK, Northern Europe, Baltic States and Poland, delivered his welcome address.
Referring to the Thank You Year being observed by Tibetans across the world for one calendar year from 31st March 2018, Representative Tsering mentioned that Ka-trin: Festival of Tibetan Culture is part of Thank You Year events. He further remarked that the Festival showcases the rich Tibetan Buddhist culture, rooted in compassion, to friends and supporters of Tibet and Tibetans in the UK, as a way of ‘‘expressing gratitude for their support through the past 60 years of our life in exile.’’ The Representative then awarded Certificates of Appreciation to three long-time supporters of Tibet.
The visitors to the festival were given a traditional Tibetan droso-chemar welcome at the entrance and served dresil – traditional Tibetan sweetened rice. The festival offered visitors an opportunity to observe the construction of Chenrezig Sand Mandala; see & experience the Tibetan nomadic way of life with the complete life-size Tibetan nomadic tent display, and enjoy Tibetan cultural music & dance performances.
Exhibition panels on the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, courtesy Tibet Museum, were on display. Workshops on Tibetan dance (gorshey) and Tibetan calligraphy were conducted, which were thoroughly enjoyed by those who took active part. Tibet related talks were also arranged, including one titled “Leaving Fear Behind: The Story of Dhondup Wangchen” and another on Tibetan contemporary art. Stalls set up by Tibet organisations selling Tibetan merchandise were present at the venue to cater to the visitors need for memorabilia.
The highlight of the Festival, however, was the Black Hat (sha-nag) cham performance by the monks of Tashi Lhunpo monastery, which formed part of the closing ceremony. After a brief ceremony to start the process of dismantling the sand mandala (symbolizing impermanence) and word of thanks by the chair of Tibetan Community in Britain, the Festival drew to a close. The occasion was made even more sweeter by England’s football victory and their progress into FIFA World Cup semi-finals.
Close to 400 people visited the festival throughout the day.
The festival was followed by the Tibetan Community in Britain’s celebrations to mark the 83rd Birthday of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.
Tibetans dressed in their best traditional costumes gathered in large numbers for the special occasion, organised by the Tibetan Community in Britain.
Starting the celebrations, Representative Chonpel Tsering welcomed everyone to the celebrations and shared the joyous news of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s excellent health. He reminded everyone that the best birthday gift that His Holiness expected from His well-wishers was for them to be kind-hearted and to work towards helping others and refraining from harming anyone.
Councillor Kastriot Berberi, London Borough of Waltham Forest, an invited guest, stayed through the entire programme, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Representative offered him a traditional Tibetan khata and explained the significance of the same.
There were plenty of Tibetan cultural performances from cross-section of community members to entertain the guests and the audience. The celebrations ended with the usual gorshey dance joined in by everyone.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, London-