A day full of festivities and fun

A day full of festivities and fun

Traversing Culture

Around 600 visitors from the Himalayan belt, including Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia and Nepal, gathered in the City recently to commemorate the Buddhist New Year ‘Lo-Sar 2012’, that was celebrated here for the first time. The day-long trans-Himalayan festival was organised at Indraprastha park by Buddh-Jyoti Foundation in partnership with Government of Arunachal Pradesh and other organisations.

According to the Buddhist Calendar, ‘Lo-Sar 2012’ is the year of water dragon. A number of traditional sporting and cultural events of Himalayan regions like tug of war, archery, chanting of mantras, mahakaal cham dance and mask dance by monks from Himachal Pradesh were the highlights of the event.

The festival began with world peace prayer led by Ganden Tripa Rimpoche, head of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The prayer was done for the victims of natural calamities like cloud burst in Ladakh, tsunami, earthquakes in Tibet, China and Sikkim.

“The community came together to pray for victims of various natural calamities like cloudburst in Ladakh, tsunami in Japan and earthquakes in Sikkim,” said Sonam Agola, general secretary, Buddh-Jyoti Foundation.

Kapeel Barsiayan, president, Buddh-Jyoti Foundation, said, “The purpose of organising this event is to promote the Himalayan culture in the Capital. People know about other festivals in India but they know very little about the festivals of Himalayan belt.”

Cham dance that grabbed maximum eyeballs was performed to invoke gods and goddesses. It is believed that witnessing cham dance will help in overcoming all obstacles in the coming year. Then there was chanting of mantras by 15 Grammy Award winning monks in different levels of harmony and voice modulation.

A group of Japanese expats gave a performance on the journey of Buddhism called ‘Baudhisatva Mandala’. The show produced and led by a Japanese monk and peace activist Reverend Terasawa depicted the journey of Buddhism from India to other regions like Central Asia, China, Japan and Korea. The show also included monks from Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and China.

Visitors were spotted donning their customary outfits, and some special traditional snacks like kyabje, chere (sattu ka ladoo) and butter tea were also prepared. Popular sports in Himalayan belt like tug of war, archery and arm-wrestling were also organised during the festival.

“Archery and tug of war are traditional sports of Himalayan region. Archery is a national sport in Bhutan, while in Arunachal Pradesh it is a must on special occasions,” informed Sonam. The Lo-Sar festival is celebrated in the first 10 days of the Lunar New Year across the Himalayan regions and countries like Bhutan, Nepal Tibet and Mongolia.