बिहीबार, असार ३ २०७८
काठमाडौं २२:४४
वासिङटन डिसी 12:59

Mha Puja and New Year (Nepal Era 1137) Observed in Edmonton, Canada

इनेप्लिज २०७३ कार्तिक २४ गते १३:१४ मा प्रकाशित


Nepalese people living in Edmonton and surrounding areas recently observed community Mha Puja (The Worship of Body Persona) and New Year (Nepal Era 1137) celebration amidst a special cultural event at Duggan Community Hall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Saturday November 5, 2016.  The cultural event was organized by the Newa Cultural Society of Alberta (NCSA), a local organization founded to practice, promote and preserve Newa cultural heritage.  About 80 people including guests from different ethnic background, race and faith participated in the cultural event.


The cultural event was jointly inaugurated by honourable Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, Government of Alberta, Canada; and Dr. Hemanta Joshi, President of NCSA, by lighting up the Twadewas, traditional Nepalese artistic oil lamps.   Dr. Joshi also garlanded in the portrait of Shankhadhar Sakhwa, the founder of Nepal Era.


After the inauguration session, Dr. Hemanta Joshi, President of NCSA, delivered a welcome speech highlighting key activities of NCSA including Newa Language, Music and Dance Heritage Project supported by the City of Edmonton.  Dr. Joshi also briefly spoke about the philosophical aspect of Mha Puja and New Year (Nepal Era) celebration.  According to Dr. Joshi, Mha Puja can be performed by people of any background, color and faith to recognize, respect, empower and purify their soul for meaningful life.


During the inauguration session, honourable Mr. Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, presented certificates of appreciations to two outstanding NCSA volunteers.  In his short speech, he expressed his satisfaction to be part of the community for the celebration.   According to him, tradition of acknowledging own soul and soul of others is a very special characteristic of the Newa community.   He stressed the need for honoring culture and traditions of other people and noted that suppressing people’s expression, culture and languages will have devastating effect in the community.   At the end of his speech, on behalf of Government of Alberta and Premier Rachel Notley, he wished all the community members for a very happy New Year and wonderful celebration.


After the inauguration session, an auspicious Mha Puja ceremony was performed in a traditional way.  All the participants including honourable Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, sat cross-legged in front of their sacred colorful Mandalas, drawn to represent inner soul.  A group of senior ladies from the community facilitated the Mha Puja ceremony.  They offered Dhau Shinah [Tika – a dab of colored paste made from yogurt, whole grain rice and vermillion powder] to the participants on their forehead.  All the participants worshiped their soul lighting a candle [substitute for Khelu Ita (wicked oil lamp)] and offering flower petals, whole rice grains, puffed rice, and vermillion powder in the Mandalas.


As part of the ritual, all the participants received an auspicious tray containing Kokha (sacred threads to wear around the neck), fruits (honey pomelo, banana, persimmon, orange and lemon), ethnic sweets (Cell, Puri, and Julebi), Masala Po (a package of dry nuts, spices and candies), whole walnuts, and Syangli (filbert nuts) as a Bhintuna (best wishes) gift.  All the participants also received Khen Sagan [a ritual food comprised of deep-fried egg, Bara (deep fried donut made from black lentil), small fried whole fish, steamed and fried pieces of meat, and small quantities of Aela (diluted whisky) in a Kholcha (small bowel)] from the senior ladies as blessings for prosperity, longevity and good luck.


After the Mha Puja ceremony, participants were entertained with vivid cultural program (short Newa drama, dances, melody and cultural quiz related to Mha Puja and New Year (Nepal Era).  Dr. Kishor Shrestha, Secretary of NCSA, thanked all the guests, volunteers, and community members for making the cultural event a grand success.  Photo exhibitions depicting Newa culture, traditions, and NCSA projects and activities were also displayed in the cultural event.  At the end of the cultural event, a delicious Newa Bhoye (ethnic dinner) was served to the participants.  Mr. Sarju Ranjit and Dr. Nami Shrestha were the MCs in the cultural event.