What makes this year different from other years?
By now it would appear that the movement to give up Losar — Tibetan New Year — celebrations has gained considerable momentum among Tibetans everywhere. Some may see contradictions in today's blog, or even reactionary impulses. I fail to see any. Losar observances will without doubt be carried out in every Tibetan home this year more or less as they always have been. The very idea that there won't be any Losar is, let's admit it, a little bit like calling off Christmas in a Christian community. Not very likely. But I think what we are going to see this year are less of the public 'celebratory' parts of Losar than usual. The simple reason is the grief of the previous year (unless you've been sleeping like Rip Van Winkle, you'll know its reasons). For more on the problems with New Year this year, read this blog by Agam's Gecko. The news from Lhasa and eastern Tibet in recent days is disheartening. Don't think for a moment that anything about the Tibet situation has been resolved. Not at all. When Beijing isn't displaying its anxiety, it's indulging in denial. And if you have questions about what Tibetan New Year is, or in more ordinary times would be, there might be a few answers in this post from last year.
If you have Tibetan friends, why not send them a Losar eCard on or before the new moon of February 25th? I wasn't able to get my Tibetan fonts to work together with photoshop, but perhaps you will have more success with that. If you would like to add your own message to the card, download this uninscribed version by double-clicking and sliding it onto your computer desktop
Then import it into Photoshop and see what you can do with it. Or take your own photo of an ox-like creature if you don't think highly of mine. I know a lot of you have been searching the internet in vain in hopes of finding Losar eCards. I know. I have my sources.
But now that I look, I see there are a couple of ready-made cards for the Earth Ox over at "Tibet Cafe." Never mind. I spoke too soon. It happens.
If your Tibetan friends are living a place without fast internet connections, do them a favor and print your cards out on photo paper and drop them in the mail. If you act quickly there may still be time.
This Losar will begin the 23rd year of the 17th rabjung. Some have developed the custom to number the year from the first year in the reign of the first Tibetan Emperor Nyatritsenpo. They would call it the year 2136. If you have read this far, consider this to be my Losar eCard to you this year. We'll just leave it without any labels, or call it Tea-Coloured Light. Let's say its rays symbolize hope in all its audacity.