[Nwsanet] Seattle's Nepali community shines - The AIA Project,
Nepal Seattle Society
info at nepalseattle.org
Mon Oct 17 10:28:40 PDT 2005
WHAT'S NEW IN THIS ISSUE OF AIA
East West Woman Magazine: A New Voice for Asian Women.
Paoa 'Duke' Kahanamoku: Olympian and Father of Surfing.
Dashain Celebration: Seattle's Nepali community shines.
Get your Daily Chinese Horoscope. (Sidebar)
Seattle's Nepali community shines.
By Ramon GIl for AIA, October 2005
NSS members modeling traditional Nepali clothing.
Up until now, most people knew nothing about the country of Nepal and her people. But if Dhan B. Pun has anything to do about it, that's going to change. Two years ago, Dhan joined the Nepal Seattle Society (NSS), and as General Secretary, has made it his mission to increase the visibility of the organization and the Nepali community. "For years, the Nepal Society has been behind the scenes with only Nepali people attending our events. Even the South Asian community didn't really know about us." Since then, Pun has helped raise the profile of NSS and its events. Especially the upcoming Dashain Celebration. A religious event celebrated by Hindus everywhere.
A little known fact about the country is that it is the only official "Hindu" country in the world. Though both Hinduism and Buhddism are the dominant religions in this South Asian nation, the king and the royal familu are practicing Hindus and have made it the kingdom's official practice of faith.
Every late September and early October, the Nepalese people, and Hindus in general, indulge in the biggest festival during the month of Kartik on the Bikram Sambat calendar. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival of the year and is celebrated by all caste and creed throughout the country.
NSS officers at last year's celebration.
"The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. Thorough out the kingdom of Nepal the goddess Durga in all her manifestations are worshiped with innumerable pujas, and thousands of offerings." according to the country's website. "The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil and is symbolized by goddess Durga slaying the terrible demon Mahisasur, who terrorised the earth in the guise of a brutal water buffalo. The first nine days signify the nine days of ferrous battle between goddess Durga and the demon Mahisasur. The tenth day is the day when Mahisasur was slain and the last five days symbolise the celebration of the victory with the blessing of the goddess."
"This year we are celebrating Nepal's greatest festival ³DASHAIN² on October 22, 2005. To promote Nepali culture is one of the main goals of our society, therefore, our cultural team is putting together many cultural performances with many talented artists from our community." claims the NSS website. According to Pun, there will be traditional performances and lots of food from Seattle's Nepali business community which now boasts three local Nepali restaurants.
Attendees enjoying the delicious food.
"In 1997, when the celebration was first started there were about 40-50 people who gathered for the event." says Pun. "This year we are expecting about 200 people." Throughout Washington state, Pun estimates about 300 Nepali families with about 75,000 people throughout the U.S. concentrated mostly in Northeastern cities like New York, Boston and Baltimore.
The Nepal Seattle Society is a non-profitable and non-political organization offiicially established in 1999 with its primary goals being to promote Nepal and Nepali culture, strengthen mutual co-operation among Nepali and foster friendship with friends of Nepal in the state of Washington. Since then, NSS has set up a website, been recognized by the local government's Committee on Asian Pacific Affairs and has participated in various events within the greater Seattle Asian and South Asian community.
The next generation dances the night away.
This year's Dashain celebration promises to be a feast for the senses with folk dances, songs, dramas and poems to help preserve the Nepali culture and heritage. "We encourage you and your children to participate. It is really a great opportunity to teach our children of our own wonderful culture." announces the NSS website. The event is free to members of NSS and a suggested donation of $10-$15 is asked of non-members who wish to atttend.
"I am most happy for the many changes we have had in the past two years." adds Pun. "We have been part of many other activities organized by other communities. We have been very active in representing Nepal in American society. And that is the happiest thing for me."
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Egan Hall, 123 N 79th Street, Seattle, WA 98103
E-mail: info at nepalseattle.org
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