Losar La Tashi Delek! This phrase, meaning “Happy New Year” in Tibetan, was one heard throughout the day as families joined the Rubin in a celebration of Losar, the Himalayan New Year, in February. It was a fun for our more than 250 participants, who enjoyed art-making, traditional Tibetan musical performances, the creation of a sand mandala, torma sculpting, a Tibetan tea house, and family gallery tours throughout the afternoon.
As families entered the Museum, they were warmly welcomed by our friendly staff and many jumped right into art-making. Our sheep mask activity was a very popular one, during which children transformed themselves into wood sheep, in honor of 2015 being the Lunar calendar’s year of the wood sheep.
Families were also invited to go on our Losar-themed Family Tours led by Rubin Museum guides Alison Baldassano and Jeremy McMahan. During these tours, families learned about the celebration of Losar and its connections to the artwork in our galleries. The children enjoyed sharing what they learned on the tour with their parents and friends. We loved hearing our young visitors so excited about learning!
Throughout the afternoon, families were invited to enjoy traditional Tibetan music by Tenzin Dolkar and Kunga Gyaltsen. The sounds of the lute, gyuemang, and vocals were a festive addition to a fun-filled day of gallery explorations and art-making.
In the theater were some of our most anticipated events of the day, a sand mandala construction by two master artists and the creation of a giant collaborative mandala by family participants. At the end of the day, we held a special destruction ceremony, during which the artists swept the sand into a pile at the center of the mandala to symbolize the impermanence of life and material things. After the sweeping of the sand mandala, the children gathered around the collaborative mandala and held their own destruction ceremony. They pushed all of the mandala contents toward the center and then celebrated its completion by tossing the materials into the air – this moment was definitely one of the day’s highlights.
Activities were also taking place throughout the day in our Education Center. As they entered, families were asked to find their birth year in our “Find Your Birth Year Animal” activity. They placed a sticker next to their year and were then able to discover which animal corresponds to their year. Families also made wishes for the New Year and added them to our collaborative “Wishes Wall.” Some of the wish highlights included: “I wish for summer,” “I wish for cotton candy,” “I wish you were here,” and “I wish for a Pegasus.”
Our art studio also played host to a master butter sculptor, who created statues and torma (colorful sculptures made from flour and butter) throughout the afternoon. Families watched and were inspired to create their own mini clay “torma.”
Rubin guide Tashi Chodron also set up a pop-up Tibetan teahouse in our art studio. The house was decorated in festive prayer flags and thangkas and even had a costume area where children could dress up in traditional Tibetan celebratory clothing. This activity made for some fantastic photo ops!
While our Youth and Family Team hosted the event, it would not have been possible without the help of many departments within the Museum, as well as our many Rubin Teens, docents, and volunteers. We’d also like to thank our photographer, Michael Palma, for taking all of these amazing photos. It was truly a joyful and memorable Family Day and we can’t wait to invite families back for the many programs for families the Rubin has to offer. Check out our website for more information on upcoming events!
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