July 7, 2012 Saturday
San Francisco: Tibetans in San Francisco Bay Area gathered in great numbers at Berkeley Marina Park to celebrate the 77th Birth Anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Tibetan Association of North California organized the event with three main events. Official function was conducted on the eve of 6th July at John F Kennedy High School Hall in Richmond. The next day, an open picnic and event show was organized at the Marina Park. In the evening, cultural and dance show was conducted at JFK High school hall. Many Tibet supporters and friends had come to show their solidarity and to celebrate the day with the Tibetans. A big Tibetan tent was erected, where people offered traditional Tibetan scarf, Khata, to the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the altar. The monks from Nechung, Gyuto, and Bon Gyalshen led the prayers and people prayed fervently for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Traditional Tibetan dances, and purification rite, sangsol was conducted. People came in traditional Tibetan attires, costumes were colorful and impressive. Californians visiting the Park on the day had a very rare glimpse of living and vibrant culture of Tibet. Tibetans also basked in the California sun in typical Tibetan picnic style enjoying the vibrant energy of their identity and culture. Gorshe, a big circular Tibetan dance was performed.
In his speech, Mr. Tsedup, Chairman of the Association reminded the people of the messages of His Holiness the Dalai and urged the people to live by His teaching of peace, non-violence and compassionate society. Remembrance and tribute to the Tibetans martyrs in Tibet was paid, and people prayed and reiterated their firm commitment to the Tibetan struggle for peace and justice. Richmond Mayor and other dignitaries expressed their good wishes to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and showed their support to the Tibetan aspiration for freedom and peace in their homeland Tibet.
According to an early settler, there were only about 40 odd Tibetans in San Francisco Bay Area in early 1990s. The California weather and the friendly environment had the population grow. Many shifted from other areas; new immigrants also tend to prefer the region to start a new life. In this way, today there are around 2000+ Tibetans in San Francisco Bay Area. The Birthday picnic gathering at Marina Park also gave the Tibetans a good opportunity to take some time out of their busy California lives to meet and talk with their fellow countrymen, and rejoice in their culture.