The Rumtek monastery in Sikkim:
Tibetan New Year
The lamas are wearing different colourful
masks and beautiful costumes.
Visiting Sikkim - text and photo:
Rumtek monastery at 2000 meters high up in the Sikkim mountains in
India is one of the most attractive places you can celebrate the
Tibetan new year today. But watch up! The Tibetan celebrations are very
different from ours in many ways. If you want to celebrate Tibetan New
Year then you have to wait until the 27th of February. But the
celebration starts tree days earlier.
is Sikkim? It's a small part of north India on the Tibetan boarder
between Nepal and Buthan. Sikkim was once a kingdom of its own with the
capital Gangtok. Now it's a part of India.
colourful Rumtek monastery is the residence of the high Tibetan lama
called Karmapa and his crew of monks. New year celebration is the
summit of the year at this monastery: The lama dances starts: Symbolic
the lamas are cleaning the area before the New Year to come. Al masks
used in the dances have different symbols: They are helping the great
Mahakala in the ceremony.
The high Tibetan lama 16 th.Karmapa
the sound of the traditional Tibetan instruments dominated by big
thunder drums, different kinds of trumpets and the long radonges, the
lamas are wearing different colourful masks and beautiful costumes. The
monks playing the instruments are sitting in front of the monastery
with beautiful costumes in red and yellow. Their instruments have
beautiful decorations in silver and gold. The music is very strange to
crowd around the area before the monastery where the dances takes place
most of the day all three days. More people are coming every day making
the last day of celebration very crowded. Many local political leaders
and even the royalty from Buthan are present as guests this year, witch
indicates the influence and political power of the high lama Karmapa.
first day of the celebration, the monks and lamas dance without masks.
Different groups of monks up to hundred monks in each are dancing for
hours. Every day the dance starts at 10 in the morning. The dancers
take a break for dinner at 5 p.m.
second day the masks are on: You se animal heads, bird heads and devil
masks beautifully made and coloured. Symbolic these are the workers
cleaning all bad actions of all kinds out of the place for the New Year
You se animal heads, bird heads and devil
masks beautifully made and coloured.
third day the big butter figure 6 meters high of the dramatic Mahakala
is placed in the centre of the dances. The dances circle around this
figure. This figure is burned when the danced end in the afternoon.
Tibetan laypeople believe that part of the burning figure gives them
blessings, and they are eager to get their part as the flames eat up
the figure. That's a problem to the monks who are trying to keep the
laymen away from the flames to avoid accidents.
years day is celebrated inside this beautiful monastery temple called
the Gumpa decorated with thankas and beautiful wall paintings and a lot
of traditional Tibetan food. This big ceremony goes on led by His
Holiness Karmapa and his 350 Rinproches, lames and monks placed
according to their rank in the Tibatan temple. The laypeople and
pilgrims are crowding up to the high lama Karmapa to get his blessing
after the ceremony and they bring him their white khadaes for geetings.
The children monks enjoys visitors.
After four days of celebration the monks rest for seven days.
there is a tradition to wish something for the New Year among Tibetans
in India and all over the world I'm sure they all wish to go back to a
free and independent Tibet.
Tibet has been occupied by Chinese troops since 1950.
H. Dalai Lama the political and religions leader of the Tibetan people
won the Nobel Peace Price in 1989. Behind Dalai Lama stands a great,
non-violent and peaceful culture with a high spiritual and moral level.
culture we need to take care of in the world today. Not only for the
sake of the Tibetans, but for our own sake: Too many high peace loving
cultures through the history of mankind has been lost. We can't afford
to loose the Tibetan culture.
Films about the Tibetan Culture:
The History of Dalai Lama"
"Seven years in Tibet"
Keanu Reeves, Bridget Fona,