Sunday, 30 March 2014

Justine's Post 30/03/14

Amelie's birthday at the beginning of the month was the same day as the Bhutanese New Year, which is called Losar. It is a time for gathering with family and celebrating with traditional foods. In the lead up to Losar we could see people making preparations and there was lots of spring cleaning going on. We were invited to our neighbour's place to celebrate Losar and for baby Rinzan's 1st birthday. Our neighbour is a lovely lady that everyone calls Ama, which means Mother in Dzongkha. Rinzan is Ama's grandson.

This is the altar in Ama's place with all the offerings for Losar.

This is Ama's son Mr Tenzin, his wife Wangchuk and their children Kuensel, Choki and baby Rinzan.

In Bhutan, much to the kids delight, sweets are served before the main meal when going to someone's house. At Ama's place we first sat around the bukhari (wood fired heater) and drank tea with specially made deep fried little pastries. Then we went into the altar room and sang happy birthday to baby Rinzan. Again, much to the kids delight, our plates were piled high with birthday cake and lollies. We thought that was going to be our dinner, the kids weren't complaining. Then the main meal of rice with various vegetable and meat dishes were served. By this time the kids were complaining, they were already full!

The following Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of chanting. There is no insulation in the timber panelled walls so we often hear Ama praying in the alter room next door. There must have been quite a group of people gathered as the chanting was vibrating into our place. It was a soothing feeling. The chanting went on for most of the day, which amazed me. At this altitude I struggle to hum out the National Anthem at school assembly each morning. Speaking of which, I am proud to say that Thomas has picked up the Bhutanese National Anthem and joins in with everyone at school assembly everyday.

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