We wish all our friends and supporters a very happy Tibetan Losar, a festival that welcomes the new year. It’s a time when family celebrate, small gifts are offered, delicious bowls of soup enjoyed and of course no feast would be complete without a steaming hot pan of Momo. The famous meat-filled dumplings which when served with a freshly-made chilli sauce are utterly delicious. Music too and dancing traditionally feature, as does the propiation of deities and ‘spirits’ of the land and water. The roots of this celebration go back to ancient times, yet while it has at its core Tibetan religious and folk beliefs it is about the enjoyment of life and family.
It also represents Tibetan cultural and national identity, which is why the Chinese regime, via the mass colonization of Tibet, is exerting its corrosive influence over the festival. Television and radio channels are broadcasting 24/7 Losar themed shows, but they are more ersatz than authentic, performers and stages draped in the red and yellow of China’s national flag. Robotic mass-choreographed dancers, songs delivered in Chinese praising the so-called Motherland and a supposedly contented Tibetan people. Like every other facet of Tibetan culture Losar has come under the draconian grip of the Chinese authorities and they are identity. It is a corrosive process of Sinocization.
Yet such flashy propaganda is superficial in comparison to the Losar which dwells in each Tibetan heart. The organized festivity approved by the occupying Chinese authorities is utterly detached from the ancient observances and authentic enjoyment of Losar. China exploits the festival to project its power and reinforce the propaganda narrative, it’s a political agenda which is in reality being celebrated.
That will not eclipse or replace for Tibetans the Losar Festival and its wonderful traditions, it’s within the cultural DNA of Tibet and it will take more than phony stage-shows or fake costumes to convince Tibetans otherwise!
Losar Tashi Delek!