Women in colorful long skirts and aprons executed a softly stamping dance. A musician wearing a traditional Tibetan hat with a fur brim provided accompaniment on a long-necked Tibetan lute, which he said was made from rhododendron wood. Later, the lute player switched gears and chanted a rap-like invocation, standing near a table laden with bowls of fruit, a tower of flaky pastries, a ceramic sheep’s head and a photo of the Dalai Lama.
The occasion was a celebration of Losar — the Tibetan new year — at the U.S. State Department late last month. During the festivities, members of the Tibetan diaspora community presented no less than three white ceremonial Tibetan scarves to Sarah Sewall, a department undersecretary who also serves as special coordinator for Tibetan issues.
Losar won’t roll around for 12 more months, but the Capital Area Tibetan Association has a year-round presence. Among other activities, the group offers Tibetan language and music classes for youngsters. A new generation, after all, needs to learn to play that long-necked lute.
News coverage of the event in Tibetan from Voice of America Tibetan service.