US Government celebrates for the first time Losar, the Tibetan New Year, in recognition of Tibetan culture and identity

On February 23, 2015, the State Department hosted a reception to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan New Year, to an invited gathering of Tibetan Americans, diplomats, State Department officials and other dignitaries. The first day of Losar fell on February 19 this year.

“This is the first time that such an event has been organized by the State Department and it can be seen as a recognition of Tibetan American culture and its contribution to American society. We are pleased to see the US Government taking this initiative,” said Bhuchung Tsering, Vice President of the International Campaign for Tibet.

Under Secretary of State Sarah Sewall, who is also the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, welcomed everyone and shared her experience of interacting with the Tibetan community during her trip to India and Nepal last year and being able to see the different aspects of Tibetan culture then. She put Losar in the context of a Tibetan American culture.

The former Special Envoy of H.H. the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyari, explained the symbolism of Losar to the Tibetan people and also saw the reception as the U.S. Government implementing its policy “to assist in preserving the distinct religious, cultural and linguistic heritage of Tibetan people.”

President of Capital Area Tibetan Association, Rigdhen Dolma, said that this reception was another significant event in the lives of the Tibetan American community coming on the heels of the recent visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Prayer Breakfast.

The reception included performance of traditional and auspicious songs, offering of Chang (Tibetan beer), cookies and ceremonial offerings.

State Department

Sarah Sewall welcoming the gathering at the State Department first Losar reception.

State Department

Sarah Sewall with some of the Tibetan American artists and “Chang maidens” during the State Department Losar reception.

Losar celebration

Among the invited guests to the Losar celebration, Matteo Mecacci, ICT President and Tencho Gyatso, ICT Associate Director.

traditional Tibetan music

Tibetan artists performing traditional Tibetan music and songs.

Sarah Sewall

Lodi Gyari offering a khata to Under Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Sarah Sewall.

Losar celebration

Among the guests was Mr. Greg Craig, who served as first Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues in the late nineties, who is seen here eating Tibetan delicacies with Sarah Sewall.

Losar celebration

A view of the Losar altar that was set up within the State Department on the occasion of the Losar celebration.

 

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