Tibetan New Year celebrations at Pestalozzi
18 February 2013
Happy Losar! Tashi delek! Happy Tibetan New Year!
Pestalozzi’s final Cultural Evening for the winter saw almost 100 people thronging to the charity for a celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Guests were treated to traditional foods like momo (dumplings) and dresil (sweet rice), accompanied by their choice of sweet or salty po cha (butter tea). Pestalozzi students Ugyen Wangchuk and Tenzin Jamphel performed a beautiful rendition of the song ‘Snow Lion of Peace’, and eight Tibetan students performed an enchanting traditional dance. You can watch a video of the evening here.
There was a serious side to the evening, as the Tibetan students at Pestalozzi all come from Tibetan communities in exile. Tibet declared independence exactly 100 years ago in 1913, but was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1951 and its government abolished in 1959. Tibetan students gave presentations about the current political situation in Tibet and showed a moving video about recent protests, including discussion of the 100 self-immolations in Chinese occupied Tibet in the last 4 years. Interested guests signed petitions and purchased t-shirts and stickers to show their solidarity with the Tibetan people.
The event ended on a lighter note, with guests having their fortunes read by finding slips of paper in mini dough balls. Pestalozzi staff member Charlotte Allen was surprised to learn she was "A person who is ever present during fun times but disappears when there is work to be done” (the latter part is untrue, of course!). Other guests were more pleased to be told they were kind-hearted, sweet and in possession of dignified principles.
A fantastic night was had by all, and no doubt guests will be looking forward to Pestalozzi’s famous International Celebration on Saturday 9 March.