Day 3 Let’s dance together 15 Days of Prayer for Tibetans during the Tibetan New Year dance gently, like butterflies flying in a garden. Everyone can join or withdraw whenever they want. Nowadays, the dances are well-organized, and amplifiers with MP3 music are used. Losang and his friends joined the circle quickly. Losang, although not good at dancing, enjoys singing and dancing, just like most other Tibetans. They danced for over two hours, then finally went home with joy and excitement. Today (the 3rd day of the New Year) is really a happy day for Losang, a young Tibetan man. Last night he made a lot of preparations for today’s worship, for example, incense, holy water, wine, and food. The most important thing, however, was putting a new prayer flag on a bamboo stick. All such preparations can only be done by males. This morning Losang Pray that: • The Tibetans will know Jesus is the highest God. • Jesus Christ will break through all the chains and bondages. • The Tibetans will have a good time with their friends. woke up very early, about 5:00 am. He rode a horse and went to the mountain with his neighbor. It is normal practice that males should represent the family to carry out the worship rituals on the 3rd day of the New Year. The males burnt juniper leaves and incense, put their bamboo sticks on the mountain, and worshipped the mountain god. Then they ate, drank and danced. At about 4 pm they left and went back home. Losang cut a small bush, and put it in the front of his home, thus representing the protection of the mountain god. Though Losang was busy all the day, he didn’t rest. He had to do the circle dance with his friends. The circle dance is a Tibetan folk dance. The dancers dance hand in hand, usually without music, but accompany themselves by singing. The males dance with big motions, like eagles flying. The females
Day 4 Taboos in Tibetan New Year 15 Days of Prayer for Tibetans during the Tibetan New Year There are countless taboos for Tibetans’ living habits. Taboos are particularly significant in the New Year, a festival which emphasises auspicious meanings. Tibetans, ranging from the elderly to children, have to speak and act carefully so as not to irritate or annoy relatives and friends, hence everyone can celebrate the festival delightedly and peacefully. Bumo has been a very obedient girl since she was young. She strictly follows her parents’ teaching and commands, including the traditional living taboos. During the New Year, she is especially cautious. The penultimate day of every year is the day for all families to have a thorough house clean-up. They sweep every place, ranging from scripture hall and kitchen to children’s bedrooms and pens for livestock. Bumo diligently helps her mother to do all sorts of cleaning; meanwhile, she collects all the garbage and dumps it together with portraits of evil beings, which her father has already prepared, at the auspicious corner of the village at night. According to her father, the best location is the junction of three streets. After she disposes of the garbage, she goes home and gets ready for a bath. Tibetans are used to taking a bath before the New Year, which symbolizes washing away all the bad luck. Yet, there are taboos for picking a right date for bathing. Men bathe on the New Year’s Eve whereas women have to bathe on the day before New Year’s Eve or before; otherwise it is unlucky. On the first morning of the New Year, Bumo’s mother gets many different kinds of food ready for Bumo and other family members to eat. The more they eat, the better it is for them as this is the only day of a year, which means that the whole family will be satiated throughout the whole year without worrying about a lack of food. In addition, Bumo definitely does not do any cleaning such as sweeping floors and washing clothes on this day. There are several reasons for not doing so. First, Tibetans think that this will sweep or wash away all the good luck. In addition, sweeping on the first day of the New Year represents that their house will be dirty every day and it will always need a lot of cleaning. On the first day of the New Year, parents cannot reprove their children because of the effect on their fortune. So not matter how mischievous Bumo’s siblings are, her parents can only remind them gently but not severely scold them. Moreover, the elder brother who usually speaks foul language also tries to control himself so as to avoid bad luck. What’s more interesting is that neighbours cannot throw yak dung outside as it will mean that they will suffer great loss in terms of horses, yaks and sheep, as well as harvests of crops. In other words, they can never be rich. Bumo has also heard from her father that Tibetans never borrow from others, especially money, in the New Year or he will end up needing to borrow a lot and having lots of debt and misfortune. A Tibetan proverb says: “Whoever is rich owes no debts”. Therefore, Bumo returns all the borrowed books to her classmates a few days in advance, even though she has not yet finished reading those books. Only when Tibetans return all the borrowed items can they enjoy the New Year without cares. Pray that: • The Tibetans can enjoy the New Year freely and peacefully. • The power of the evil spirits behind these taboos will be broken over the Tibetans. • The Tibetan believers are brave enough to say ‘NO’ to these taboos.