Tibetan is spoken
by about 5 million people in Tibet. Tibet has 3 parts - Central Tibet U-Tsang, Northern Amdo and Eastern Kham.
Nowadays Tibet is has been separated and renamed as: Tibetan autonomous region, Qinghai province, in the south of Gansu province, and
west of Sichuan province and north of Yunnan province. Tibetan refugees all around the world speak Tibetan - in Nepal, Northern India, Switzerland, the Americas, etc.
Of the major languages of Asia, Tibetan has the most in common with Burmese. The two languages belong to the same branch of the Sino-Tibetan family. The Tibetan alphabet dates from the 7th century A.D. It is based on the Sanskrit, having been adapted by a Tibetan minister sent to study Sanskrit in Kashmir.
Tibetan is an ancient nationality. According to historical records the ancestors of the Tibetans gathered along the banks of the middle reach of the Brahmaputra. Due to the vast grasslands and lush pastures, sheep, goat and yak were easily fed and stock breeding gradually became their main economic support. They also engaged in agriculture and highland barley, a grain that is the material of tsampa and ghee. Wheat, peas and canola are also planted. Tsampa, mutton and beef are the staple food of Tibetans. In some areas, rice and noodles are also a regular part of the diet. Tea with butter or milk, sour milk and cheese are the favorites of all Tibetans.
Tibetans have their own language and letters. The wide use of Tibetan language promotes the economic and cultural exchange between the Tibetan and their neighbors. Tibetans also have their own calendar. The exact date for the new year changes every year but its mostly around the months of February and March. The Tibetan New Year for 2004 was on February 21st. The period from the 10th century to 16th century was the golden age of Tibetan culture. Tibetan art has a dual character: on the one hand, it seems related to Indian art, with its artistic patterns and stress on deep red, blue and green; on the other, it is distinctively Tibetan, different from both the East and the West.
Herders of yaks, sheep,
and goats and farmers of barley, peas, and
tubers, the Tibetans sparsely inhabit a high, desolate region
surrounded by mountains and barricaded on the east by the canyons of
the Yangzi, Mekong, and Salween Rivers. Monba people are Tibetan people living in the Himalayas.
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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