After lunch some of the women left but some relatives stayed to help to serve the guests who started to arrive. In the main room there were 80 butterlamps burning in memory of grandfather and the younger son of the family was in charge of keeping them burning throughout the day filling them with melted butter every time one went out. The lamas had also finished the altar and started chanting prayers sometimes beating the big drum and cymbals and ringing bells.
Every guest brought gifts of eggs, noodles, alcohol, butter, barley grains, cheese and possibly meat or something else. Mom kept record of what each family gave so that they will pay back similarly when it’s their turn. Every guest got 2 bags of instant noodles. Previously this used to be youtiao (the pastries) but now everyone just uses instant noodles as the return gift.
Keeping record of gifts
All the guests were served home made noodles with pipa-meat so the big wok at the yard was kept boiling all day.
That was the first day. The second day the lamas continued their prayers in grandfathers room and the village elders came to pray in the main room. i could hear the chants of the lamas and the drums mixing with the chant of the elders.
Mantou (steamed bread) and fried vegetables with meat was served for lunch to the elders. I helped mom to serve the food and the elders thought it was very funny; a foreigner serving food to them! We had a good laugh!
Dad chopping vegetables
The three oldest ladies of the village
After lunch the lamas and the elders had a break but continued the prayers from 3 till the evening when everyone left. This was the 2 day ceremony. Good bye grandfather. We were here to remember you and we hope you found your way!
On July 5th it was one year since grandfather died. According to their belief this is when the soul returns one more time to see the loved ones one more time before it departs permanently, so a ceremony is organized to help it find it’s way. The ceremony lasts 2 days. Preparations for it started already a few days before. Dad churned milk to make fresh butter, ground fresh tsampa (barley flower) and mom made fresh yak cheese.
Mom making cheese
On July 4th people started arriving after the morning duties were done (animals fed). Mostly women relatives arrived but also a few men to help prepare food for the guests. First mountains of flour needed to be sieved.
Also two lamas arrived. They were going to pray in grandfather’s room t help him find his way. They started by hanging a big drum on a frame that father had borrowed and baking tsampa cones for the altar. I’m no expert in Tibetan Buddhism so I don’t know what these are called or what is their purpose. I’ll ask and get back to it later if anyone is interested.
The women also started baking youtiao (kind of pastry with no filling cooked in oil). Some women baked at the terrace, others twisted the sweet pastries into shape in the main room and the cooking took place at the courtyard.
Mom’s brother prepared the pipa-meat (which is salted, dried pig meat, mostly skin and fat with a little bit of meat) that was to be served with noodles to the guests.
Burning off the hair from the pipa-meat. After this it’s soaked to remove the salt, cooked and chopped.
After all the cooking was done it was time for lunch. This seemed to be women’s time together. We moved some tables to the terrace and ate warm youtiao with cold cucumber dish and, of course, lots of butter tea with yak cheese. After the women were done the men had their lunch.
To be continued….