On Saturday June 22, with the Artisphere ballroom draped in prayer flags, ICT and the Capital Area Tibetan Association (CATA) put on our first Tibet Fest event- a true celebration of Tibetan culture. The event, held in partnership with BuddhaFest, brought out over three hundred DC area residents of all ages interested in experiencing Tibetan culture firsthand. With booths ranging the expanse from Tibetan nomad life to Tibetan medicine, calligraphy to music, and traditional dress to a Tibetan altar, attendees were treated to a variety of traditions and customs. One booth provided the opportunity to try on traditional Tibetan hats and snap a photo, while the children’s table had stations to make homemade prayer flags and masks. Local Tibetan shops were on hand with an array of items up for offer and incredibly popular momo dumplings were provided by Himalayan Heritage restaurant.
In addition to the booths an energetic on-stage program featured an opening blessing by Khen Rinpoche and remarks by ICT’s Executive Chairman Lodi G. Gyari. We were fortunate enough to have Ngawang Sangdrol share her personal experience as a political prisoner held by the PRC for 11 years. ICT’s Interim President, Bhuchung K. Tsering, educated the crowd on the situation inside Tibet and the actions that ICT is taking to work toward a peaceful solution. Members of CATA participated in a Tibetan fashion show demonstrating traditional Tibetan dress, as well as several musical performances including the Tibetan and American national anthems. The event culminated in a traditional Tibetan circle dance in which the entire crowd was invited to participate.
As one of the newer members of ICT’s long-serving staff, it was especially meaningful and moving for me to see so many people personally experience the beautiful Tibetan culture we and our members are working to protect. Tibet Fest was an enlightening event and we send a big thank you to all of those who were able to join us and to the dedicated volunteers who made it happen. If you weren’t able to join us this time, we hope to see you at the next Tibet Fest!