Birthday of the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama, Birthday of the

July 6
This celebration is held on July 6 for the birthday of the current Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political head of Tibet. The name Dalai means "ocean" and was given to the ruling lama in the 16th century by the Mongol leader Altan Khan. The title suggests depth of wisdom.
The present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (b. 1935), who was enthroned in 1940 at the age of five, is the latest in the line that began in the 14th century. Each Dalai Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of the preceding one, and when a Dalai Lama dies, Tibetan lamas search throughout the country for a child who is his reincarnation.
Tibet had been a sovereign country until 1949, when China invaded eastern Tibet and sporadic warfare followed. In 1959, a popular uprising exploded at Lhasa but was suppressed, and the Dalai Lama and most of his ministers and about 80,000 Tibetans escaped across the Himalayas. The Dalai Lama has lived since then in exile in Dharmsala, India. Today there are some 80,000 Tibetans in India, 30,000 in Nepal, and 3,000 in Bhutan.
The birthday is observed today by exiles in India with incense-burning ceremonies to appease the local spirits, family picnics, and traditional dances and singing. The incense burning is a rite pre-dating Buddhism.
See also Universal Prayer Day
Office of Tibet
Tibet House, 1 Culworth St.
London, NW8 7AF United Kingdom
44-20-7722-5378; fax: 44-20-7722-0362
EncyRel-1987, vol. 4, p. 200
OxDictWrldRel-1997, p. 254
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The student wanted to peacefully celebrate the 81st birthday of the Dalai Lama in July along with hundreds of exiled Tibetans.
It also marked the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama and the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of a young Tibetan who was chosen by the Dalai Lama as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism.
Dharamsala, July 17 ( ANI ): Criticising the firing by Chinese police on a group of monks and others who had gathered to mark the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama in a restive Tibetan part of southwestern China, exiled Tibetans in Dharamsala said they were ready to do anything for their spiritual leader.