Every year, Gaden Samten Ling Society’s Tibetan Bazaar becomes more popular.

“It’s been growing year by year,” said Jeremy Berg, society board member, noting that attendees should anticipate a lot of music and colour.

“Tibet is a very colourful culture. Prayer flags will be everywhere, people will be dressed in their cultural outfits.”

He is referring to the 24th annual Tibetan Bazaar being held at Alberta Avenue Community Centre the last week of September. As in years past, a big attraction is the music.

“It will be a live performance in the Tibetan tradition,” said Berg.

The artists, a female singer and dancer from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, will take the stage twice daily.

Another big attraction is the mo mo booth. These beef and vegetarian dumplings are always big sellers.

“We sell over 5,000 mo mos for the weekend,” said Berg.

While the bazaar is a fundraiser for the society’s centre, located on the corner of 101 Street and 114 Avenue, it’s also a platform for displaying Tibetan heritage.

“Another objective of Gaden Samten Ling is the preservation of Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy,” said Berg. “Which is another reason for the upcoming bazaar, to showcase Tibetan culture, cuisine and way of life.”

The bazaar is a rare opportunity to experience the colours and sounds of the Himalayas and Tibet and sample its merchandise. Alberta’s population of Tibetans is small, noted Berg, and getting authentic Tibet-made items across the border is still difficult.

Some Tibetan accessories. The cloth hanging on the left is a ceremonial item. Credit: Kate Wilson
Some Tibetan accessories. The cloth hanging on the left is a ceremonial item. Credit: Kate Wilson

With a few exceptions, all the vendors at the bazaar are from Nepal, India and Tibet. They’ll be selling art, clothing, books, jewelry and meditation supplies, as well as textiles and soaps, most handmade.

Gaden Samten Ling is a non-profit organization, established by founding teacher Geshe Ngawang Kaldan who immigrated to Canada in the 1970s after his escape from Tibet. Since his passing, spiritual director Kushok Lobsang Dhamchӧe has carried on with the founder’s work, building on its mission to promote the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and offer meditation instruction to anyone who wants to learn.

Since the new building opened in 2012, programming has expanded under Dhamchӧe’s care, said Berg.

Dhamchӧe described a new program for parents with small children.

“We now have a children’s program for three to six years old. Meditation and instruction is upstairs for the adults, while the children are [engaged in] various activities and teachings downstairs,” he explained.

The Tibetan Bazaar has been an integral part of programming for more than two decades.

“It’s a big fundraiser and a cultural venue,” said Dhamchӧe. “A presentation of our heritage.”

The Society’s next big goal is a wellness centre. Funds raised at the bazaar are going toward current operations and the new wellness facility, which will include children’s programming, yoga, a chiropractor and a Tibetan doctor.

“This is Kushok’s vision, he’s always looking to help other beings,” said Berg.

For those wanting to sit with Dhamchӧe, he’ll be offering dharma talks and an introduction to meditation at the upcoming bazaar.

For more information, go to www.gadensamtenling.org.

IMG 2 Tibenaccessories KateWilson
Header Image: This Tibetan outfit, known as a chuba, is worn by unwed women. The outfit and the jewellery behind is a taste of the colours and textures coming to the Tibetan Bazaar. Credit: Kate Wilson


Tibetan Bazaar

Sept. 24-25, 10 am-5 pm
Tickets: $5 at door
Alberta Avenue Community Centre
9210 – 118 Avenue