April's Dolma Prayers

April is a month of prayer in the village of Ritoma. Monks from the local monastery visit each of the 220 families in the village and recite the Dukar Dolma prayers to ward off obstacles in the coming year.

In the old days, when families were not as affluent, prayers were simple. Monks would sometimes arrive in a house with no household members to receive them, as all the family members were out in the pasture with their animals. They would recite the necessary prayers and leave. Nowadays, families are more affluent and preparations are lavish, often followed by a feast where friends and relatives from the village are invited.

Whandey, Norlha’s dyeing section manager, model and employee of ten years, started preparations early. He set up the ritual offerings on the altar, then prepared lunch for the monks and the feast for village guests to follow. The shopping had been done the previous day and Whandey was happy that his day of prayers had fallen on a Sunday, as this prevented him from having to take a day off work. His children ran excitedly among the stacks of cold drinks, cookies and fruits. Friends would soon be showing up and the house would bustle with activity.

Culture is still vibrant and alive in this small village on the Tibetan Plateau. It is a continuous source of inspiration for Norlha and one of meaning, security and identity for its employees.