Seattle Center Festál presents Tibet Fest (pronounced T-bet Fest) in partnership with the Tibetan Association of Washington (TAW). The festival showcases traditional and contemporary Tibetan art, music, dance, art and more.
The public rarely has the opportunity to experience Tibet’s unique and endangered culture. The Tibetan diaspora outside Tibet is very small in number and it is challenging to preserve and propagate the culture among the younger generation. Tibet Fest provides a unique opportunity for the community to embrace their Tibetan identity with pride, and introduce themselves to the public as being a part of the greater diverse population in this city and nation.
The focus of Tibet Fest is to preserve the culture in their community and also provide an opportunity for the broader public to experience this very rich and unique, but often inaccessible culture.
The Tibetan state started in 127 B.C., with establishment of the Yarlung Dynasty. The country was first unified in the 7th Century, under King Songtsen Gampo. Tibet was one of the mightiest powers of Asia for the three centuries that followed. A formal peace treaty concluded between China and Tibet in 821/823 A.D. demarcated the borders between the two countries and ensured that, “Tibetans shall be happy in Tibet and Chinese shall be happy in China.” In the later years, Tibet came under influence of Mongolian rule and later Manchu rule of Qing Dynasty. The final army of the Qing were expelled from Tibet in 1911 and the 13th Dalai Lama formally declared Tibetan independence.
Tibet remained as a de facto independent state until the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet and forced them under duress, to sign the so called 17th Point Peace Agreement in 1951. Tibetans rose up against Chinese rule in many areas, some violent, but many peaceful. After a failed people’s uprising on March 10, 1959 in Lhasa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and over 100,000 Tibetans fled into exile to India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The United Nations General Assembly passed resolutions in 1959, 1961 and 1965, urging respect for the rights of the Tibetan people and also recognized the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination.
There were under 500 Tibetans in the U.S. until the passage of the 1990 Immigration Act, which provided the resettlement of 1,000 displaced Tibetans into the U.S. from Nepal and India. The Tibetans received permanent residence and work authorization, but no benefits for three years or federal funds, which were typically granted to refugees.
Seattle and Portland/Vancouver were two of the many sites in this resettlement project. The Tibetan population has steadily increased to over 30,000, largely concentrated in New York and the Twin cities.
Tibetan Association of Washington (TAW) is 501(c)3 non-profit organization since March 1993. TAW supports the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his commitment to the principle of non-violence in the Tibetan people's struggle for freedom.
The first Tibet Fest was held in 1996. TAW and Tibet Fest are both driven by volunteers’ endeavors since its inception, which also remains its biggest strength and source of optimism for the future years.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Tibet is the world’s highest plateau (avg. 3000 m. above sea level).
- Tibet is called the 3rd pole. It holds the largest body of fresh water outside of the Artic and Antarctica. The headwaters of six of Asia’s major rivers begin on the Tibetan Plateau and feeds 20% of the world’s population.
- Tibet is one of the first countries to ban the death penalty in 1913.
- The yak, a native animal of Tibet, typically refers to males. Females are called 'dr-ie'.
- Tibetan tea has salt and butter.