[Guruda bird dancer performing at the New Year's dance, Sikkim]
Forms part of: Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs (Library of Congress).
Also represented in LOT 14034-3, pg. no. 024 (color reference copy).
Gift; Dr. Alice S. Kandell; 2010; (DLC/PP-2010:106).
Hope Cooke was born in San Francisco, to an Irish-American father, John J. Cooke, a flight instructor, and Hope Noyes, an amateur pilot. In 1959, Cooke was a freshman majoring in Asian Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and sharing an apartment with actress Jane Alexander. She went on a summer trip to India and met Palden Thondup Namgyal, Crown Prince of Sikkim, in the Hotel in Darjeeling, India. On March 20, 1963, Cooke married to Namgyal, who soon became the last king of Sikkim, in a Buddhist monastery in a ceremony performed by fourteen lamas. Wedding guests included members of Indian royalty, Indian and Sikkimese generals and the U.S. Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith. By 1973, both the country and their marriage were crumbling: Sikkim was annexed by India. Five months after the takeover of Sikkim had begun, Cooke returned to the United States.
New Year's celebrations have a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. The earliest recorded New Year's celebration is believed to have been held by the ancient Babylonians around 2000 BCE. They held a celebration called Akitu, which lasted for 11 days and marked the beginning of the new year, the return of the goddess Ishtar, and the re-creation of the world. The ancient Romans also celebrated the new year, although their calendar was different from the one we use today. The Roman calendar originally began on March 1, and the new year was celebrated on the vernal equinox, which is the first day of spring. The Roman calendar was later changed by Julius Caesar to begin on January 1, and this change was eventually adopted by most Western civilizations. New Year's celebrations have been held on January 1 in many cultures around the world, including in Western Europe, the Americas, and Asia. In many cultures, New Year's is a time for people to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the new year. It is also a time for celebration, with parties, fireworks, and other festive events. In modern times, New Year's celebrations continue to be a popular way to mark the start of a new year and to look forward to the future with hope and optimism. While both Christmas and New Year holidays are times for celebration, they have different origins and traditions. New Year's Day is a secular holiday that is celebrated around the world, while Christmas is a religious holiday that is primarily celebrated by Christians.
Alice S. Kandell is an American child psychologist, author, photographer and art collector interested in Himalayan culture. She worked extensively in the Indian state of Sikkim as a photographer, capturing approximately 15,000 color slides, as well as black-and-white photographs, between 1965 and 1979. She initially visited Sikkim in 1965 to attend the coronation ceremony of Hope Cooke, an American woman who married Palden Thondup Namgyal, King of Sikkim. At his request, she started a photograph project to illustrate how he and his wife favoured education and local businesses in Sikkim to benefit its culture. She is the author or co-author of two books, (with text by Charlotte Salisbury), and a book for children, called Sikkim: The Hidden Kingdom. Her private collection of Tibetan art was covered in A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection of Tibetan Sacred Art, by Marylin Rhie and Robert Thurman, with photographs by John Bigelow Taylor. In 2011, she donated a collection of Tibetan art to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian, and about 300 pictures to the Library of Congress.