Festivals make our community go ’round, and the Tibetan Bazaar is a perfect example. Held on Sept. 24-25 at the Alberta Avenue Community Hall, it’s a popular, accessible event that draws upwards of 1,000 people over the weekend.
The annual event offers the chance to try tasty Tibetan-inspired fare; buy colourful, handcrafted arts, crafts, and clothing; and purchase Dharma (Buddhist teaching) talks and books. Listen to live cultural and contemporary music and performances, or even win a cherished door prize.
Practicing Tibetan Buddhism is not a requirement to attend. All ages enjoy the flavours of authentic Tibetan fare. Steamed dumplings known as momos come with tasty yak and vegetarian fillings. The tantalizing scents of spicy tomato potatoes and savory dal make these dishes irresistible. Try Tibetan-style chai and butter tea along with your snacks.
Now in its thirtieth year, the Tibetan Bazaar helps us understand this ancient culture, reflecting the more than 900 Tibetans living in Alberta.
The event is an effort to preserve and present culture, food, philosophy, and experiences. Presenters from the Gaden Samten Ling Tibetan Buddhist Society will be on hand to share experiences. The bazaar helps fund operational costs for Gaden Samten Ling Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre, a local non-profit organization.
Volunteers like Andrew Patton, the spokesperson for the event, organize and run the bazaar.
Patton explains, “We want to educate our community on who we are, and to help people know what we offer. Tibetan Buddhism helps people find happiness in their lives. We are grateful to the support of our community over the past 30 years.”
Hosting the event in person after being online for two years is exciting, adds Patton.
Adds five-year volunteer Jeremy Landon, “One unique aspect of the Tibetan Bazaar is that it is the largest Himalayan cultural event in Alberta.”
Here in Edmonton, Landon and others learn meditation from spiritual director Kushok Lobsang Dhamchoe. “Our teacher, Kusho, as he likes to be called, is a personal student of the Dalai Lama,” says Landon. “Since he arrived in Edmonton in the early 2000s, he has taught meditation to Westerners like myself.” Dhamchoe will be attending the Tibetan Bazaar.
Gifts from “the roof of the world” will be sold. Cultural leader Tashi Phuntsok has been a vendor for more than a decade. Based in Calgary, he owns Tibetan Trom, a delightfully crowded shop. He will bring a tantalizing selection of clothing, jewelry, textiles, prayer beads, Buddha statues, and hand-painted images.
In addition to his cultural commitment, Phuntsok feels an emotional connection to the annual event. “I feel happy when I’m there,” he says. “Many people tell me that they feel peaceful and joyful at the bazaar. This is our goal, to share the essence of our culture, which is joyful compassion.”
Adds Patton, “The Tibetan Bazaar showcases the wonders of Tibetan culture which has maintained nonviolence and the understanding of interdependence as the foundations of its society.”
Alberta Avenue Community Hall (9210 118 Avenue)
Sept. 24-25, 10 am-5 pm
Entrance fee of $5