बिहीबार, असोज ७ २०७८
काठमाडौं ०९:१३
वासिङटन डिसी 23:28

Sithi Nakha and Bungdyah Jatra festivals observed in Edmonton, Canada

इनेप्लिज २०७४ साउन ३ गते १३:१९ मा प्रकाशित

The Nepalese community in Edmonton, Canada observed annual Sithi Nakha and Bungdyah Jatra festivals amidst a special culture event at Duggan Community Hall on July 15, 2017. The cultural event was hosted by Newa Cultural Society of Alberta (NCSA), a local Newa organization established in April 22, 2013 to practice, promote and preserve Newa culture and traditions in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The cultural event was jointly inaugurated by Mr. Hari Shankhar Ranjitkar, Newa litterateur; and Dr. Hemanta Joshi, founder President of NCSA; by lighting up the Twadewas, traditional Nepali artistic oil lamps.

The inauguration ceremony was followed by a brief Puja (worship) of Ganedyah (Lord Ganesh, the god of beginnings); Sithidyah (Lord Kumar, the protector and the commander in-chief who killed the demon named Tarakasur); and Bungdyah (Lord Rato Machindra Nath or Avalokiteshwor, the god of rain and good harvest). The Puja was performed by Mrs. Ganga Palikhe, a senior lady of the Newa community in Edmonton. In the Puja, freshly cooked Wo (an ethnic pancake made from black lentils) and Chataamari (an ethnic pancake made from rice flour) and Chakusala (a special candy square made from sesame seeds and molasses) were offered to the deities to commemorate these festivals. After Puja, a booklet on NCSA was jointly launched by Mr. Ranjitkar; Dr. Joshi; and Mr. Tri Prasad Dhaubhadel, founder member of NCSA. In the cultural event, Prasad (flower petals and Chakusala) were distributed to the participants as divine blessings.

Welcoming the guests and community members, Dr. Hemanta Joshi briefly highlighted on the importance of Sithi Nakha and Bungdyah Jatra festivals. According to Dr. Joshi, on the day of Sithi Nakha, Newa people worship Sithidyah offering six varieties of ethnic pancakes made from black lentils, green lentils, red lentils, small peas, rice flour, and wheat flour. According to Dr. Joshi, Sithi Nakha festival has environmental significance in the society as on this day, people clean major water sources such as ground wells, stone water fountains and springs in their community. Bungdyah Jatra festival is observed in Patan, southern city of Kathmandu valley, and the festival usually starts from April/May to June/July each year. This festival is the longest festival of Nepal. This festival is very unique to Newa people. During this festival, two chariots (one for Lord Bungdyah and one for Lord Chaquadyah (also known as Lord Min Nath, sister of Bungdyah) are pulled together around the main localities of the city taking turns for special worships and celebrations. This festival concludes with displaying a Bhoto, an ethnic inner vest studded with precious jewelleries, from the four corners of the chariot of the Bungdyah after pulling it to Jawalakhel. Both Hindu and Buddhist Newa people observe this festival with great importance and enthusiasm. According to Dr. Joshi, the chariot used for pulling Lord Bungdyah is about 65 feet tall and believed to be the tallest chariot in the world. The chariot of Lord Bungdyah needs at least 100 manpower (people) to pull it around the city.

Mr. Hari Shankhar Ranjitkar praised the activities of NCSA and thanked for the opportunity given to him in the cultural event. He also wished for the continuous success of NCSA in preserving and promoting Newa culture and traditions in Edmonton. Mr. Tri Prasad Dhaubhadel also spoke about the significance of Sithi Nakha and Bungdyah Jatra festivals.

In the cultural event, participants were entertained with Newa dance performances, songs, and cultural quiz related to Sithi Nakha and Bungdyah Jatra festivals. Photos depicting Newa culture and traditions as well as activities of NCSA were also displayed in the culture event. In the cultural event, refreshments (Wo, Chataamaris and Achar, an ethnic appetizer) were served to the participants. The cultural event was concluded with a delicious ethnic potluck dinner related to the festivals.
Earlier in the cultural event, 5th AGM (Annual General Meeting) of NCSA was held and a new executive team was formed under the leadership of Dr. Hemanta Joshi for the next two years. The complete list of new executive team is given below:

1. Dr. Hemanta Joshi, President
2. Dr. Pawan Nyachhyon, Vice President
3. Dr. Kishor Shrestha, General Secretary
4. Mr. Birendra Piya, Treasurer
5. Mr. Tri Prasad Dhaubhadel, Member
6. Dr. Deepesh Shrestha, Member
7. Mr. Naveen Ranjitkar, Member
8. Mr. Prabin Shrestha, Member
9. Ms. Kamal Laxmi Ranjit, Member
10. Mr. Oj Dhaubhadel, Associate Member
11. Mr. Sujen Brajracharya, Associate Member
12. Mr. Sangyan Joshi, CMA, Auditor
13. Mr. Swopnil Kayastha, Auditor