About Salt Butter Tea
“Salt Butter Tea” is a blog about daily Tibetan life. There are many blogs about Tibet, for sure. They tend to present Tibet in a very mystical light. Although a mystic Tibet does exist, and must be shown, it is not the only Tibet that exists. We want to show you another Tibet. The one that most Tibetans experience everyday: daily-life in Tibet. The Tibet that inhabitants might find mundane, but we in Europe and elsewhere would find unique.
We want to show it to you through our eyes, we who are both Tibetan and Foreign.
Who are we?
I am Detchen. My mother is Tibetan, while my father is French. I was born and raised in France. I always benefited from a bicultural environment. At home, my mother only spoke Tibetan to me and my siblings. She and my grandmother raised us as Tibetans, teaching us Tibetan values and traditions. While my father, on the other hand, would exclusively speak to us in French. He taught us French values and customs. Both cultures coexisted in my life in a peaceful and enriching way. It wasn’t until I graduated from university, that I finally decided to go to Tibet. Currently I live in Lhasa, Tibet.
I am Jimmy. Both my parents are Tibetan. I was born and raised in Tibet until 10 years of age, when my family and I moved to Europe. I grew up and attended my education in a German-speaking country. On one hand, I have enjoyed my life in a new enviroment with new friends and culture. On the other hand, at home, we speak Tibetan and joyfully keep our Tibetan traditions very much alive. Just after my education I started working and enjoying my spare time with my family and friends. Because of my childhood memories, I always wished to go to Tibet and live there for a moment. Finally I have decided to go to Tibet and live here again.
The two of us met in Tibet. We had arrived here through different paths. However, we felt that we had a very similar bicultural experience.
What do we want to show you?
In Tibet, we regularly meet tourists. Some of whom are very pleased to be here and yearn to learn more about Tibetan society, especially about the daily life of people. However, they feel like there is a lack of accessible sources. They do not have all the keys to understand how the society works and how to interact with people. What is Tibetan society and how can we understand Tibetans?
We are also often asked by our friends and relatives from Europe about the daily lives of Tibetans. What does a Tibetan’s daily life look like?
We quickly realized that there is a real need to show and explain Tibet.
Tibet is extremely diverse. The Tibetan plateau is composed of three regions: U-Tsang (central Tibet), Amdo (northern-west Tibet) and Kham (eastern Tibet). Each has a distinct language and different lifestyle. What we know about Tibet is mostly based on a U-Tsang (central Tibet) perspective.
You will see that Tibet has ancient traditions, surprising customs, beautiful and sacred places, thousand-year old literature.
Tibetans have a daily life that is quite different from those in Europe or elsewhere.
We want to show you Tibet. Mystical Tibet and mundane Tibet. Real Tibet.
Our content is about life and culture in Tibet. Our purpose is not to write about politics, which fall under the competence of People's Republic of China. Therefore we will not talk about politics nor answer political questions.
Why Salt Butter Tea?
Salt butter tea is the most traditional Tibetan drink. It is made of black tea mixed with fresh butter and salt. The butter comes from the female yak, called a “dhri” འབྲི།. It is a very protein rich drink that keeps Tibetans warm on the high plateaus.
We wanted this Tibetan drink to be your first connection with us, as traditionally salt butter tea is shared with others.
Our logo contains the Tibetan words for “salt butter tea”. In Tibetan, we say “Bö cha” བོད་ཇ།. Sometimes, we also call it “Cha Söma” ཇ་བསྲུབས་མ།.
Our first article is about addressing Tibetans: greetings and farewells. You can already read it here on our blog.
Next, we will publish articles on average twice a month. The articles will be released on Wednesdays.
Also, every week, we will post pictures and short videos on Facebook and Instagram. You can expect small snippers like people taking the bus, in teahouses, in pilgrimage, markets, parks, pretty much everything related to mundane life. We want to let you enter the lives of people here in Lhasa.
Special thanks to Thomas Pan and Lhakpa Tsering who proofread this article!