Here is a wonderful short video sent to me this week from relatives in Tibet.
This blog often challenges your idea of Tibet: the food, the weather and so on, but this video, shot a few days ago in the mountains near my home, shows you exactly what you would expect of wintertime in Tibet, and it is glorious (and cold).
Last week my family celebrated their new year at (almost) exactly the same time as we did here in Oxford, UK. This is highly unusual. Official Tibetan new year never coincides with the western Gregorian new year. The Tibetan calendar, like many in the east Asian cultural sphere, is lunisolar, which means that it is based on both lunar and solar cycles: the months are lunar and the years are solar. Tibetan new year is usually celebrated on the same day as Chinese new year, give or take a day or sometimes a whole month (every few years an extra month is added into the Tibetan calendar to bring the lunar year of c. 354 days into line with the solar year of approximately 365 days).
To complicate things further, people in my village rarely celebrate their new year at the same time as everyone else, as the farmers have their work to do, and the timing is often inconvenient. This year, for once, it happened that my family chose to celebrate at the same time that we bring in the new year in the UK. Hooray!
Here at Taste Tibet HQ we have almost finished our double celebration, and we will be back in the market in Gloucester Green this Wednesday 9th January. Be there, as they say, or be in Tibet, where celebrations are ongoing.
Wishing everyone a very happy and peaceful 2019 (or 2146 in Tibet, where we are always ahead of the game). We have, as usual, all kinds planned for Taste Tibet this year, so watch this space!