Feeling More Tibetan on Lhakar!

Below is a guest post from another graduate of the Lhakar Academy class of 2012, Tenzin Tsomo from Nepal. Here she shares her Lhakar experience, showing solidarity with her community in Kathmandu.


Usually I wake up at around 9 or 9.30am since I’m on my break after grade 12’s board exam but it was 8am today when I woke up. So, I woke earlier because its Lhakar today. I happen to know that here in Kathmandu, we’ve been observing Lhakar in our community welfare office so I decided to join it.

I took a shower and called my friend Tsepal ( my better half), and told her to get ready since the sangsol (a Tibetan ritual)  would start at 9am. I put on my Amala’s chupa ( Tibetan dress) which is an antique one but still love it. Always feel like I look the best in chupa.

I went with Tsepal to the welfare office which is just 5 minutes away from my home.  We reached there and when we entered the hall, it felt really good to see so many people gathered, it was almost 80 or 90. Everyone dressed themselves in their beautiful and handsome chupas. Everyone were chanting prayers. We took a seat and a momola gave us a prayer book. Ironically, as soon as we started our prayer, everyone else were coming to an end. So we packed up and we all went outside on the ground to do the sangsol. We did the lhapso [throwing tsampa{roasted barley} up in the air].

After lhapso, we all gathered back in the hall again for a competition. Yes, there was a tsampa competition organized by by Regional Tibetan Youth Congress with another kyidug(sorry I dont really remember which one). We were supposed to make the best PAAK ( its kind of like a dough from the tsampa but not exactly a dough,, sorry couldnt exactly explain what it is in english) and at earliest. Everyone grabbed their chair and made a huge round circle. An old man explained a bit on what Lhakar is and also explained the rules of the competition. The organizers distributed the bowls and poured tsampa and tibetan butter tea in it. No wonder I didnt take part because I never have tried it before so didnt want to waste the tsampa, but my friend Tsepal did and god she was so good,,, was surprised eventhough she didnt win any prizes. All the winners were obviously the elderly ones who eat tsampa almost everyday. The Pola who won the first prize showed what he won and it was a very nice portrait of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and then I wished if only I had known how to make one. Will try to learn it for sure.

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Well, today’s Lhakar ceremony ended. And on our way back home, I asked Tsepal how it felt  like to make paak today and her reply was this, ” Making it wasnt something new to me, I’ve made it few times before but the thing is that that time I just made it to simply eat and fill my empty stomach but today making it on Lhakar gave me a special feeling. Today I made it because its Wednesday today which is the good luck day of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and its the food we eat in Tibet and that gave me a strong feeling of Tibetaness.”  At that moment, I actually witnessed how strong the Lhakar movement have been, not only to the Tibetans inside Tibet to restore their culture, religion, tradition and most importantly their identity but also for the Tibetans outside Tibet to have that strong feeling of being a Tibetan. At the same, wee were also sharing things on how overall it went today and what we both noticed and felt was there were many people yet so few youth. Might be probably 5 or 6 youth out of 90 people??? Thats weak.

So Folks please anyone residing near Boudha area in Kathmandu, just want to let you know that there is Lhakar ceremony every Wednesday in the Tibetan Welfare Office, Boudha . So if  you have time, if you can take out time, lets join it. Lets feel more Tibetan if not everday atleast a day in a week by wearing, eating and speaking TIBETAN every Wednesday. Trust me it feels great. PLEASE SPREAD IT!!!

P.S. Learn more about Lhakar on http://www.lhakar.org