In the Tibetan Buddhist religious tradition, the 49th day after death represents the culmination of seven weeks of mourning during which the family members and friends of the departed come together once every week to perform death rites for the benefit of the deceased. On this final day of mourning Tibetans conduct an elaborate religious ceremony, alerting the entire community to reflect upon the memory of lost ones and offer their prayers so that the deceased may have a peaceful passage into the next life.
During the previous seven weeks, Tibetans around the world have held prayer services for the victims of the recent tragedy. His Holiness the Dalai Lama presided over a Special Prayer Ceremony in Dharamsala, India on September 12.
The Tibetan Communities of New York and New Jersey have held weekly prayer services at Union Square every Saturday and Sunday following the attacks. In addition, they offered donations to the relief workers of New York City as a symbolic gesture of the Tibetan solidarity with the American people.
Nawang Rabgyal, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas, describes the 49th Day Ceremony as "a special prayer expressing the Tibetan peoples' sympathy, solidarity, and support for the people of the United States in an effort to further the universal goal of world peace."