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9july2012-003Dharamshala: On July 6, His Holiness the Dalai Lama celebrated his 77th birthday in Dharamshala. However, the festivities were not restricted to within the walls of the main Tibetan Temple at McLeod Ganj. Thousands of people took part in observing His Holiness's birthday the world over. Apart from the reception at the main temple there was also an evening observance at the Institute of Tibetan Performing Art (TIPA).

On the morning of July 6 the local Tibetan community along with monks from Nyatso monastery in Tawu County, Kham Region celebrated by burning incense near the monastery's Stupa. They also offered Katags (a traditional Tibetan white scarf) to a picture of His Holiness.

At Mura village in Machu County, Amdo region hundreds of locals gathered to pray and burn incense at Holy Hill. Apart from praying, they also offered and burned Lunda (Holy Scriptures) for good luck and for the long life of His Holiness.  The Nomadic people arrived on horses, while the village folk walked to the hill carrying a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

There were also observances in monasteries in Lhasa and other regions of Amdo and Kham.

India (Bangalore)
Over 300 Tibetans from different parts of the city and state gathered to celebrate.  There were many traditional performances by local Tibetans who sang in Telgu and Kannada too. "We wish for His Highness to return to Tibet some day. The Chinese government should make this a reality," said Karma Singey, chief representative, Central Tibetan Administration, Bangalore.

Australia (Belgrave, Melbourne)
The Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute in the Belgrave district of the city opened its doors to the public for the Dalai Lama's 77th birthday. The institute's public officer Julie O'Donnell said, "It is just a nice thing for people to see because you don't often get to see Tibetan rituals." It stared at 11.00am with a lunch offering to monks and a long puja (prayers, chants and rituals to generate blessings) for His Holiness.  In the afternoon, Tibetan films and documentary were also screened.

Arjia Rinpoche, the director of The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, and two other monks sat on the floor of an outdoor stage dressed in red offering a puja for His Holiness. As they prayed in Tibetan, members of the audience approached the stage and placed multi-colored Katags onto a shrine at the back of the stage."We offer you our prayers with intense devotion, that Tenzin Gyatso (His Holiness the Dalai Lama), protector of the great land of snows, may live for 100 eons," Center Manager Trish Ellis read from the prayer in English.

South Korea (Seoul)
On July 4, the Tibet House Korea organized a celebration in Seoul, South Korea. This was attended by Kalon Dicki Chhoyang from the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) along with 550 other participants.

France (Paris)
On July 4, the Bureau du Tibet, Paris, in association with the Tibet Group in the French Senate, organized a reception to celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday in the Senate building, Palais du Luxembourg. Kalon Ngodup Dongchung from the Department of Security of the CTA attended the celebration along with a number of other French and foreign dignitaries including, French parliamentarians, Paris based foreign Ambassadors, representatives of different French support groups and welfare associations, Buddhist centers and members of the Tibetan community in France.

Kalon Ngodup Dongchung in his address, on behalf of all Tibetans thanked the people of France and the government for the sustained and steady support they have extended to the Tibetan people in the past.He added, "The values and principles that His Holiness the Dalai Lama embodies are precious not just for the Tibetans, but to humanity as a whole, which needed to be preserved and shared for a more peaceful and compassionate world." After the cocktail reception, the President of the Senate Tibet Group invited Kalon Ngodup Dongchung to dinner in his honour.

Russian Federation
Many cities in the Russian Federation celebrated the 77th birthday of His Holiness. In Moscow the observances began with prayers for the long life of the Dalai Lama at the Central House of Writers. Welcoming the guests, friends and supporters, Dr Nawang Rabgyal, Representative of His Holiness spoke on the Dalai Lama's visions and his three main commitments in life.

Celebrations did not always go to plan. Exiled Tibetans in Nepal were banned from taking part in the birthday celebrations. They were blocked by police from entering the school where the reception was to be held. The reason given was that Tibetan ceremonies and observances could lead to anti-Chinese protests.

Nepal's chief government administrator from the Katmandu district, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, warned that any public displays that led to anti-Chinese rallies would not be tolerated; but authorities did say they would allow exiled Tibetans to celebrate privately without anti-Chinese rhetoric or displays.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a post on his Facebook page thanked all his supporters, in and outside Tibet, for all the prayers and wishes. He also expressed his "deep appreciation" to his friends and well-wishers, many from the People's Republic of China, for sending their "warm greetings."

"I am also aware that my fellow countrymen and women in Tibet would have remembered me on this day, although they would have been unable to participate in celebrations due of circumstances beyond their control," the exiled Tibetan leader said. "I would like to thank all of them too, while expressing my own admiration of their indomitable Tibetan spirit, their courage and determination."

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