Tibetan Calligraphy Day was devised to celebrate Tibet's unique language and writing system
On 30 April, Tibetans marked Tibet’s first national Calligraphy Day. Across the plateau, Tibetans including monks, children and students celebrated their native language with calligraphy competitions and writing workshops, organised by monasteries, schools and universities.
The decision to have a Tibetan Calligraphy Day was taken earlier that month, at the first national Tibetan calligraphy seminar, held at Qinghai Nationalities University on 15 and 16 April. The Tibetan calligraphy seminar gathered over 130 participants including Tibetan calligraphers, teachers and students representing the three Tibetan traditional provinces.
The Tibetan language faces serious challenges, and under China’s near 70-year military occupation, Mandarin Chinese has become the official language of education, business and government, restricting the opportunities for Tibetans who do not speak Chinese.
The choice of 30 April as the date for Tibetan Calligraphy Day carries a special significance. The Tibetan language has 30 consonants, while the fourth month of the year represents its four vowels.
Tibetan Calligraphy Day will now be celebrated every year as a way of preserving and celebrating Tibet’s language and cultural heritage.
Pictures from the events can be seen below.
Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan language advocate, is currently in detention and awaiting trial for "attempting to split the Chinese state". He was arrested following his efforts to promote the teaching of the Tibetan language to Tibetan children, a right protected in the Chinese constitution. If found guilty, he faces up to 15 years in jail. Join in with our campaign to push for his release.