Dharamshala: - Over 1,000 Tibetans of New York and New Jersey gathered inside the Armenian Church in New York to celebrate the 7th Anniversary of the conferment of the US Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 18 October.
The celebration was part of the Tibet Culture Festival, a daylong event featuring Tibetan cultural dance, music, songs and a children's Tibetan reading, writing and quiz competition. The event was organised by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey (RTYC).
The RTYC observed the day as 'Pha-Khed Tsang-mai Nyin-mo' as a token of love and gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his efforts to preserve and promote the Tibetan Buddhist religion, tradition and culture.
The event commenced with the enthronement of the picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, followed by Mendel Tensum (Tibetan Religious offering) and the Tibetan National Anthem.
North American MP Tashi Namgyal presided over as the chief guest of function. Among the other guests were Kyabje Pari Rinpoche of Sera Jey, Kyabje Bhakdok Rinpoche of Dhampa Sangay Buddhist Center, Mr. Rinchen Dharlo of Tibet Fund, Chisur Gyalnor Tsewang, President and board members of the Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey, Regional Tibetan Women's Association, Chushi Gangduk and other Tibetan organisations. Mr. Ngawang Palden, President of the RTYC New York and New Jersey welcomed the guests and members in his opening speech. Mr. Jamphel Tenzin, General Secretary took over the stage as the Master of the ceremony.
The cultural event included traditional song and dance performances from local Tibetan dance groups and schools and a screening of Mr. Tashi Wangchuk's short Tibetan documentary 'Scent of Juniper'.
Mr. Jampa Yonten, former Cultural Secretary of RTYC NY&NJ, hosted the evening portion of the event said, "I am so glad that the Youth Congress organised such a nice function exclusively filled with our own rich culture. We should have more functions like this so to encourage and built interest about our culture to the younger generation."
The highlight of the event was a Tibetan handwriting, reading and quiz competition amongst Tibetan students age 16 and under from the New York Sunday School, Connecticut Tibetan School and Diki Tibetan School. The competition gave Tibetan children the opportunity to showcase their talent and skills in Tibetan language and culture.
More than 50 Tibetan students took part and the winners of the competition won a range of prizes. Their parents were also invited on stage in order to recognise their efforts in encouraging their children for taking part in the event.
Reflecting on the youth involvement Mr. Jampa Yonten said, "I am also proud to see that the younger Tibetan children who are born or brought up here in the US know and have so much interest in our Tibetan culture, tradition and language."
Other activities included Pak-Dren-Dur (Dough molding/kneading Competition) and Chupa-Dren-Dur (Chupa Wearing Competition).
The event concluded with Gor-Shey, Tibetan circle dance where people young and old danced to the beat of the drum.
Chitue Tashi Namgyal wrote to RTYC upon his arrival back in Seattle, "It was a well-organized event and especially the children's activities. I think this is another way to help develop interest among children learning Tibetan. I will certainly recommend doing something similar in other areas as well," he said.