Festival of Tibetan Culture Begins in Paris Amid Heavy Downpour
Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 10:04
Paris (Office of Tibet): Despite heavy downpour, especially on the first day, the 6th Himalayan Festival took place at the French capital amid much fanfare, colours and festivity.
Organised by the Maison du Tibet under the direct supervision of the Office of Tibet, and with the help of over a hundred volunteers, the two-day annual festival was participated by the local Tibetan community, Tibet support groups and the local public.
As the monks of Kagyu Dzong blew ceremonial pipes, Representative Tashi Phuntsok, along with his colleagues, placed the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the throne at the centre stage. The monks of Kagyu Zong performed ritual dance of purification. Mr. Phuntsok thanked everyone gathered at the festival for their support and participation.
The public got a rare blend of Himalayan tastes from over 30 stalls selling Tibetan dresses, tea, religious artefacts, food (Tibetan, Indian and even organic dishes), etc.
The local Tibetan community was active in making the best use of the opportunity to raise funds by running a catering service. The Tibet Support groups and the Tibetan Buddhist centres also had stalls disseminating information about their activities.
The local Tibetans say that it was the first time in six years that the festival was interrupted by rainfall.
Other than the photo exhibition on Tibet, sand mandala construction led by Geshe Thupten la, and the presence of two yaks and Tibetan nomad dogs, documentary film projection on both days, specific programmes were organised each day.
The monks of Kagyu Dzong centre from Bhutan performed monastic dances in the morning.
A talk on the Tibetan language given by the French specialists, Francoise Pommaret, Marie Stella Boussemart, Rachel Guidoni and Francoise Robin was a high point of the afternoon event on the Saturday.
Tibetan calligraphy demonstration was done by Mr Lungtok Choktsang.
In the evening, a special concert was organised featuring, the internationally renowned flutist Nawang Khechog and the south Indian classical Indian dancer and musician, Raghunath Manet along with three other Indian musicians.
Due to the continuous rain showers for the major part of the day, the organiser could register little over 1000 visitors on the Saturday.
On the Sunday, over 3000 visitors enjoyed programmes of monastic dances by Vajradhara Ling Buddhist centre, calligraphy demonstration and talk on the Tibetan scripture by Lungtok Choktsang, dance, song and music of four different regions of Tibet performed by the dance group of the Tibetan community in France, yak and snow lion dances by the group of Tshering Wangdu la, the day was concluded with different flute instruments played by Nawang Khechog.
On both days of the festival, the French story teller Sophie de Meyrac recollected the life of the Tibetan epic hero of the King Gesar.
Finally Venerable Geshe Thupten la and monks from Kagyu Dzong centre performed a blessing ceremony of the sand mandala of the Buddha of long life, Amitayu.
The second visit of Nawang Khechog at the Himalaya Festival and in France, left a deep impression over the entire public. Nawang Khechog welcomed every one to share and support the Tibetan culture, which he said, is based on the universal values of peace, compassion and generosity.
Doma Tshering, Counsellor, has been mandated by the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan in Geneva, to the Festival. This is the first time the Festival has received an official from the diplomatic representations of the countries of the Himalayan region.
Catherine Barry, who presents the Sunday public TV channel programme on Buddhism was moderator throughout the festival.
The 7th Himalaya festival will take place in September 2006 – the dates and precise schedules will be announced in French on the web site: www.tibet-info.net/festival
www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.