|With Angay (grandmother) in Haa|
In Haa there are many stories of their powerful protective deity. It is understood that the reason the last horse in a group will always be tired because the deity has chosen to travel on it. When arriving in Haa (or any new place where one has arrived) it is expected that offerings be made to the local deity. Although this practice has become less commonly practiced, I never fail to see at least one person at the dining table throwing a bit of their food or drink on the ground or table for the deities.
I spent the rest of my time in Haa learning Dzongkha from the family--the son in law of the family translated for me as the Agay and Angay (grandfather and grandmother) didn’t speak any English. I found the most useful phrase of the weekend to be Nga doh mahp ya si! “My face has become red!” used in response to Agay whose flattery made me blush! (It’s been so long since I’ve seen such a beautiful girl I forgot to say my Om Mane Padme Hum! (Compassion mantra repeated many times over prayer beads.) The day of my birthday the cook spent all day cooking a cornbread and writing “Happy Birthday Nunu” on it. He even placed a butter lamp on top! This year I didn’t blow out my candles, instead I put the lamp on the family alter and made my wishes to the Buddha image and protective deities that this year bring happiness and good health for myself and all beings. This birthday I learned that there is more than one kind of family with whom to share special moments.
|Celebrating my 19th birthday with our host family|
Photos by Ellie Angerame
Majors in Anthropology and Asian Studies
Class of 2014