In Tibet, winter is the wedding season. From November to February, farmers take time out from the nomadic life, and with families reunited, this is the time of year for big get-togethers and celebrations. Christmas is not a fixture in the calendar, but there is plenty of eating and drinking just as there is in the West. Dancing is another way to keep warm, and a main feature of any wedding celebration. This video shows a dance that is typical on such occasions. Traditional music is an important accompaniment.
Now that so many people in Tibet have smart phones with apps that send images and pictures around the world in an instant, those of us living abroad can share in the festivities from afar. This video was posted by friends from my village and is wonderfully evocative of wintertime in Tibet.
Some crops are harvested through winter. Highland barley and wheat grow well in the cold. Wheat is an important ingredient in the alcohol that fuels the winter celebrations, as well as Tibetan bread and noodles. In far eastern Tibet, where I come from, nobody goes hungry at a wedding: cured meats lend a strong taste to warming broths and steaming noodle soups, and vegetables grown earlier in the season are unearthed from the underground pits in which they have been stored and used across a wide range of amazing dishes.
You will always find momos at a Tibetan wedding! Families get together to prepare huge quantities of these wonderful, winter-warming traditional celebratory snacks.
Taste Tibet is off for a break ourselves for a couple of weeks. You will not find us in the market until next year now. We will be back on Wednesday, January 4th.
Wishing everybody a very happy festive season! Hope yours is filled with good food, wine, and much music and dancing!