Weds - Fri 5-9.30pm 🍴  Sat / Sun 12-3pm / 5-9.30pm

It’s Tibetan New Year – Kind Of

Dates and numbers are a wonderfully fluid thing in Tibet. For the record, I don’t know my actual date of birth. In fact, I’m not even sure of the year of my birth. I do know that I was born in the year of the sheep, and this makes me either 27, 51 or 39. I’ll leave that one with you.

But even if we can narrow down my birth year, there will still be a discrepancy between how old I am perceived to be in Tibet vs how old that makes me here in the west. If I am 39 in western years then I would be considered to be 41 in Tibet, where people also count the nine months a child spends in its mothers womb, and then another year on top of this every New Year’s Day.

So I turned 41 last week. Or did I? Tibetan New Year isn’t officially upon us until February 16th this year, but my family generally celebrate this most important of festivals at a time of their own convenience. Our animals need access to fresh food after a long winter at home, so we usually mark the new year early, while everyone is still around to enjoy the party.

None of this means that dates per se are not important in Tibet, but there is a fluidity to them that is unseen in the western Gregorian system. The Tibetan calendar is lunisolar, which means that it is on based on the cycles of both the sun and the moon. The year is made up of twelve lunar months, but a thirteenth month is added every two or three years to keep the calendar in synch with the seasons.

Added to this, astrologers routinely leave out days, dates, or even months that are considered unlucky. No wonder the people take things into their own hands when it comes to celebrating events even as big as the New Year.

Over the last few days, family and friends in Tibet have sent through scores of videos and photos taken during the New Year in my home village. The video at the top of this post gives the best idea of how the days and nights are spent. Below are a couple of shots showing what happens further up on the hills. Generally speaking lots of dancing, singing, and music, and of course food and drink.

This week, at our Pop-Up at Silvie Bakery Cafe, we are gifting you Tibetan khabsey, the traditional sweet snack prepared in every Tibetan household over the New Year period. Help yourself from bowls in the front room while you wait for your takeaway, or grab a couple on your way out if you are eating in. Happy New Year!

Taste Tibet @ Silvie – Where/When?

Thursdays 6.30pm-9.30pm, Silvie Bakery Cafe, 281 Iffley Road, Oxford OX4 4AQ

Also: Gloucester Green Market

Wednesdays, 9am-4pm, Gloucester Green, Oxford OX1 2BU

#tastetibet #tibet #Silvie #popup #momos #curry

Read more

Momo Moments

Those of you who’ve been following us for some time will know how much it means to us to be able to visit Yeshi’s home

Read More »

Lessons In Patience

This is not a picture of our family, but rather an update on the walnut tree from Yeshi’s village in Tibet that’s thriving in the

Read More »

Business As Usual

We fail to bring you anything fun and interesting this week – the truth is that we’re dealing with some difficult stuff behind the scenes.

Read More »

The Restaurant is Closed!

We’re away all summer at festivals. The online shop is open but there may be a short delay with dispatch. The restaurant in Oxford will reopen on 06/09/24. Thank you for bearing with us!

We Are Closed!

Our chefs are in Tibet and the restaurant will be closed until 15/05/24. The online shop is open but deliveries will be made after 13/05/24. Thank you for bearing with us and see you soon!