The first day of the fifth Tibetan month this year was Wednesday, the 20th of June. This was the Summer Solstice; although, according to the Tibetans, Thursday, the 21st was the actual solstice.
We should call this the "birthday month," for we have several very important birthdays and anniversaries between 20th June and 19th July, when the lunar month ends.
First, on 24th June, we celebrate the birthday of the popular Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche VII. Next, on 25th June, we celebrate the anniversary of the wonderful Master of Masters: Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro (1893 - 1959). Then, on 26th June -- this is three days in a row, mind you -- we celebrate the birthday of Karmapa XVII, Ogyen Trinley Dorje (these birthdays according to the Western calendar).
We are barely getting started.
On June 29 -- the tenth day of the fifth month -- we celebrate Guru Rinpoche's birthday (according to the Mindrolling tradition). This is also Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche's birthday, so I am thinking we will need a mountain of offerings.
Tuesday, 3rd July is the Dzam Ling Chi Sang, or Local Deities Day, so there goes another mountain of offerings.
The 4th of July is reckoned as America's birthday -- no offense intended to greater North America, Central America, or South America -- but, so we are instructed from birth. This is also the one day of the year you are likely to encounter Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche out and about, because it is his favorite U.S. holiday, and he celebrates it like he does everything else: vigorously.
The rockets barely stop glaring when 6th July comes upon us: the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV!
Friday, 13th July is Dakini Day this month, after which we are at leisure to rest up until 23rd July, the fourth day of the sixth month: this year's Chokhor Duchen (a so-called ten million day).
My advice is to lay in a huge supply of incense, flowers, rice, candles, prayer flags, and materials for cleaning and polishing. Get everything shining beforehand.
Because Guru Rinpoche's birthday is thought to occur on Guru Rinpoche Day this month, I am including the above photograph of a remarkable sculpture. I wish I knew who the sculptor is, so that credit could be given where credit is certainly due. Isn't it wonderful?
Happy Birthday, everybody!