Monday, February 04, 2008

Year of the Earth Mouse

Yesterday, I headed off to Jampa Ling in Co. Cavan with my trusty sidekick Dave. We went for Losar which is Tibetan new year and the day when all Tibetans (and, also, Mongolians) celebrate their birthday. It began with a fire puja outside the big house. Rinpoche said prayers as the boughs of cedar burned. In circumambulation around the fire, we walked through the clouds of white scented smoke (for purification), chanting OM DUM SWAHA, OM AMRITA AYUAR DADE SWAHA, the mantra of Ush Nish Vijaya, Goddess of Victory. We also tossed cedar into the fire ourselves and threw rice into the air. Then there were prayers in the shrine room and everyone gave Rinpoche khatas (silken scarves). Then we ate the food offerings of sampa, dried fruit and nuts, and these yummy curly bread twists. After that, we had a big feast in the dining room - everyone brought food to share - and there was a proper Irish hooley, with musicians and people singing and children dancing. Here's what I bought from the shop: a blessing to hang in my car, Folk Tales of Tibet by Norbu Chophel, gorgeous silver earrings for Finn (for her upcoming birthday), and a red-and-gold box of Lhasa incense. It was a great day!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bought some Pataks Tikka Masala to celebrate now that i have an occasion to eat it :))
big dog

Anne said...

I have to say that I was so surprised to stumble across your wonderful blog. "The Druid's Tune" was one of my all-time favourite books when I was younger, and because of it I became fascinated by all things Irish (much to my Irish grandfather's delight). You're an amazing writer!

OR Melling said...

I especially love Pataks brinjal pickle and lime pickle. Yum! And thank you, Anne. Great to hear from you. Did you pop over to my Book Blog also? That's where I talk about books and writing. If your grandfather's Irish, that means you are too.

Anne said...

I peaked at your Book Blog, and I'm excited to read that you're working on a new book (I think that it said that it's set in the Outer Hebrides). Very exciting news! I'll have to watch for it and pick it up as soon as it comes out.

I am part Irish, but I will never be able to match the Irish-ness of my grandfather, who kept all kinds of posters and plaques around his house that said things like "God Made the Irish #1" and so on. He used to tell this (retrospectively) funny story about arriving by boat in Montreal and seeing signs on stoers that said "Help wanted, dogs and Irishmen need not apply" and wondering what kind of country he'd come to.

OR Melling said...

Wow, I knew those signs were up in Toronto (very Orange city back then) but didn't think they were in Montreal as Quebec, a Catholic province, tended to be more sympathetic to the Irish, e.g. adopting children whose parents died on Grosse Isle. The signs in America apparently said "No blacks or Irish need apply." (Yes, I'm rooting for Obara.)