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On Saturday 2 July, Tibetans and Tibet supporters celebrated the Dalai Lama's 76th birthday in London. Over 250 people gathered for "Trunkar", a special evening of Tibetan culture, food and dance.

The Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations 2011The hall in Chalk Farm was brightly decorated with Tibetan door hangings and Tibet flags, with Tibetan prayer flags strung across the auditorium. The stage area was backdropped with a large picture of the Dalai Lama in front of which there was an altar with candles and khatags (traditional scarves).

The evening began with a long-life prayer for the Dalai Lama and an introduction by Thubten Samdup, the Dalai Lama's Representative to the UK and Northern Europe. The entertainment began with the Tibetan Community Dance Group performing traditional dances in a variety of colourful Tibetan costumes. The undoubted highlight was the performance by the Group's youngsters, who ranged in age from 3 to 15.

The Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations 2011A special recognition award was presented to Sonam Frasi who served 10 years as a Chitue (representative to the Tibetan Parliament in exile) and many years of service to the Tibetan Community in Britain and the Tibet movement in general.

Following a lively game of bingo, dinner was served, featuring the ever-popular Tibetan momos, cooked by the members of the Tibetan Community in Britain. The second half of the entertainment consisted of modern Tibetan music, and included Ugyen Choephell on acoustic guitar performing several foot-stomping, modern versions of traditional Tibetan songs.

The Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations 2011A raffle was held with prizes including a dinner for four at the newly-opened Kailash Momo Restaurant in Woolwich, south-east London and two tickets to the forthcoming world premiere of Little Tibet, a documentary film by UK-Tibetan Nawang Anja-Tsang and Joseph Brett. (The premiere will be held later this summer in London in conjunction with Tibet Society. Details to follow soon. View trailer here.)

The Dalai Lama's birthday celebrations 2011The main entertainment ended with a traditional circle dance with most if not all participating. The hall was then cleared, so those inclined could dance the night away, with a disco into the wee hours!

Thanks to everyone who attended and special thanks to all the volunteers who helped to create a successful and fun event, by entertaining, cooking or helping out on the night.

Happy birthday and long life to the Dalai Lama.

View more photos via Tibet Society's facebook page.

(The birthday celebrations were organised by the Tibetan Commemorative Committee, which comprises the Office of Tibet, London; Tibetan Community in Britain; and Tibet Society.)
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