They threw prayer leaflets in the air, conducted fireworks displays, and openly marked the 80th anniversary year of [the Dalai Lama’s] birth
In February 2015 Tibetans in eastern Tibet openly celebrated the 80th birth year of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama; combining public and private observances with traditional celebrations of Losar, the Lunar New Year.
At monasteries in Ngaba and Golog, Tibetans placed life-size photos of the Dalai Lama on thrones in the monasteries’ courtyards, made offerings, and recited prayers for his long life.
“They threw prayer leaflets in the air, conducted fireworks displays, and openly marked the 80th anniversary year of [the Dalai Lama’s] birth,” Radio Free Tibet reported.
Displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photos or public celebrations of his birthday have been met with harsh punishment in the past. In July 2013 a group of Tibetans were shot at by Chinese police as they gathered to peacefully celebrate the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama; two Tibetan monks were shot in the head and several others seriously injured.
Radio Free Asia further reported that there are “clear indications that the Tibetans were celebrating not only the New Year but also the anniversary year of [the Dalai Lama’s] birth. This year, the number of Tibetans celebrating Losar is much greater than the numbers who celebrated during the past few years. Monasteries and laypeople in this region of Tibet have the unique tradition of paying special respect to their spiritual teachers when those teachers reach 80 years of age”.