10th March

Hote Matsuri: Shinto festival in Shiogama, Japan. There is yamato dancing, and people pray for safe homes and successful business. Shinto is Japan’s native spirituality, folklore and rituals, and means ‘way of the Gods’.

Tibetan Uprising Day:

Humans have lived in Tibet for 21,000 years. The Zhang Zhung culture originated the Tibetan Buddhism, Bon Buddhism, which is quite shamanistic.

Songtsaen Gampo was the founder of the Tibetan Empire in around 600 A.D., invading quite far into China to extend his kingdom. Korean general Gao Xianzhi broke the empire up trying to re-open the route to Central Asia, and by 750 most of Tibet’s land in Central Asia belong to China.

From the mid-9th century Tibet had an Era of Fragmentation, run by lots of little tribes.

Then the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty ruled Tibet for a while until 1346, when the Tibetan Phagmodrupa dynasty took over. In 1578 the first Dalai Lama was appointed.

In 1624 Portuguese missionaries arrived. All missionaries were kicked out in 1745.

In 1724 the Chinese Qing dynasty controlled Tibet, although the Dalai Lama was the official ruler.

In 1904 the Brits arrived and committed the Chumik Shenko Massacre, which they said was an accident.

In 1910 China decided it did want Tibet and deposed the Dalai Lama, who fled to British India. Tibet revolted, and China apologised, offering to restore the Dalai Lama’s title. He said he didn’t want a Chinese title, and for 36 years Tibet and China were independent from each other.

In 1914 Tibet gave South Tibet to British India, which China said was illegal. From 1950, the People’s Republic of China incorporated Tibet, which the Dalai Lama refused to accept. He fled to India and set up an exiled government there.

In 1958-61 China implemented the Great Leap Forward, changing the economy from an agricultural one to a collectivised industrial socialist one, causing the Great Chinese Famine. Nice one.

200,000 to a million Tibetans died, and 6,000 monasteries were destroyed as part of the Cultural Revolution (basically replacing all traditions and culture with Communism).

From 1980 General Secretary Hu Yaobang brought in some reforms that eased things up a bit, but Tibetan monks protested for independence so China cracked down on them.

Why not make some Tibetan prayer flags?

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