March 2011 Family Day: Himalayan New Year

The Rubin Museum of Art celebrated the Himalayan New Year (Losar) in 2011 with a day of art, crafts, food, music and more. Visitors contributed to a giant collaborative mandala, made felt momos filled with special messages for friends, constructed colorful sculptures inspired by torma, churned butter for butter tea, explored the galleries on an amazing story drama tour, and enjoyed traditional music performances.

Beautiful Butter Sculptures (Torma) In Tibet, Tormas, or butter sculptures, are used as offerings in shrines during special ceremonies. Three beautiful Torma sculptures from Latse Library were on display, and master sculptor, Dorgee Gombu demonstrated unique butter sculpting techniques whiles visitors created a clay sculptures of their own.

Felt Dumplings (Momos) Families learned about the Himalayan tradition of making dumplings (momos) for friends and family by crafting a special felt momo filled with auspicious ingredients including rose hips, salt, coal, cotton and bits of fabric.

Urban Mandala Urban River Arts visited the museum and worked with visitors to create a giant mandala made of recyclable materials. Familieis were guided by volunteers and RMA Teens, selected materials by shape and color, and then filled in a pre-designed mandala on the ground.

At 4 pm, a dismantling ceremony was held and families were invited to take materials that they would re-use in arts projects at home, or help sort the materials back into buckets for further use.

Sand Mandala Demonstration Dorgee Gombu demonstrated the art of making a sand mandala for families in the Theater. This activity was next to the large Urban Mandala, and provided a deeper cultural context to the activities in the theater.

Little Lhasa Tea House We transformed the studio into a Tibetan Tea House. Families were invited to churn butter, taste Tibetan tea, and share stories of New Year traditions.

Tibetan Music Performance Tibetan singer, Tenzin Dolker performed at the bottom of spiral staircase and played festive New Years songs.

Story Tours Museum Guide, Harry Einhorn led three interactive story tours through the museum.  Participants went on a journey to the Grain of Emptiness exhibition to experience color and shapes, than made a flower offering to leave at the Tibetan Shrine in celebration of Losar.

Milarepa Children’s Choir A performance of traditional Tibetan songs by the Milarepa Children’s Choir ended family day events.

Family Day: Himalayan New Year was a part of CelebrASIA NYC, a collaboration between leading cultural institutions in New York City designed to introduce children to Asian festivals and themes. In the inaugural series, New Year’s Festivities for Families, children are invited to ring in many Asian New Year’s from January through March by participating in hands-on workshops and programs at Asia Society, China Institute in America, Japan Society, The Korea Society and Rubin Museum of Art. Members of all collaborating organizations received discounts for all CelebraASIA NYC events.


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