Tibetan New Year (Losar) - February/March
The Tibetan New Year (Losar) falls in the month of February or March. On the first day of Losar TIPA awakens at 4am to the knocks of the girls who bring around fresh changkoe (boiled barley beer). There follows a special prayer meeting for all members in our prayer hall and the Director's annual address. Afterwards, everybody goes down to the main temple for the ceremonies and young TIPA artistes perform "Ghar" (ceremonial court dance) in front of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. This colourful, vibrant and unusual dance is an ancient part of the Losar rituals. Finally, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, delivers his New Year's speech.
After the formalities are over, everybody in the TIPA family relaxes into a slow rhythm of eating, drinking, playing games, visiting friends and receiving guests. In the evenings there are social gatherings where the staff and artistes eat together, play games and dance the night away. The following two days follow the same pattern. The fourth day of Losar is a recovery day, a day that everybody definitely needs! Imagine Losar in Tibet, where traditionally the celebrations lasted for 15 days.
Losar is a time for everybody at TIPA to relax and have some fun with the people we live and work so closely with. It is a time when friendships can be solidified and life can be contemplated and when we can also make commitments for the year to come.
Uprising Commemoration - 10th March
The Shoton Festival, an annual celebration of Tibetan Opera (Lhamo) is organized by TIPA and supported by the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF), Germany. It is normally held over an 8 to 10 day period in February or March. In March 2005 it was held outside Dharamsala for the first time. Lhamo associations from Tibetan communities all over India and Nepal take part in the festivities.
Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama - 6th July
The birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama falls on 6th July. On this day there are various programs at the main temple. Before the programs there are prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's long life. After the prayers some dignitaries deliver speeches and then culture programs are presented. They are presented by Tibetan schools and communities as well as local Indian schools and communities. TIPA artistes also participate.
Democracy Day - 2nd September
Democracy Day is a holiday in the Tibetan Calendar. The day is an opportunity to reflect upon the benefits of a democratic society and give prayers and hope for the restoration of a democratic state in our native land, Tibet. There is always a function at the main temple and TIPA performs traditional dances and songs followed by other Tibetan schools. In the evening, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) organizes a drama competition in the TIPA auditorium. There are normally four teams from different Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC).
Nobel Prize Anniversary and Himalayan Festival - 10th to 12th December
His Holiness the Dalai Lama won the noble prize for peace on 10th December in 1989. On this particular day we have programs at the main temple. Other Tibetan communities and various Tibetan schools and local Indian schools participate.
On the 11th and 12th of December, the Indo-Tibet Friendship Association (ITFA) organizes the International Himalayan Festival with the aim to strengthen the ties between all peoples of the Himalayan region. Groups normally come from various Himalayan regions like Sikkim, Shimla, Ladakh to join the local Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese artistes. This festival is usually celebrated on TIPA's outdoor stage. TIPA artistes also present a traditional and a modern show.
After this celebration the artistes get a winter break until the 25th of January.
There are many other activities which are not included above. For example, culture shows for our foreigner friends, dignitaries and local Indian festivals like Indian Independence Day on 15th August.