Yomari Punhi Observed in Edmonton, Canada
The Nepalese community in Edmonton, Canada observed Yomari Punhi amidst a special cultural event at Lansdowne Community Hall on Sunday December 23, 2018. The cultural event was hosted by the Newa Cultural Society of Alberta (NCSA). This was the 6th Yomari Punhi cultural event of NCSA in Edmonton, Canada. Yomari Punhi is one of the famous cultural festivals celebrated by Newa people on the full moon day in December, after the end of rice harvest in Nepal.
The Yomari Punhi cultural event commenced with a welcome speech from Dr. Hemanta Joshi, President of Newa Cultural Society of Alberta (NCSA). On the cultural event, a special Puja of Annapurna (the Goddess of grain) was performed by offering freshly cooked Yomaries (a unique Newa delicacy prepared from sweet rice and inner fillings of molasses and sesame seed powder), as a gesture of acknowledging the deity for a good harvest. The Puja was performed by Mrs. Laxmi Khayergoli, a senior lady of the community. At the event, Mrs. Khayergoli spoke about the importance of preserving Newa culture and traditions in the community. Mr. Dwarika Shrestha, a senior person of the community, spoke about significance of celebrating Yomari Punhi festival in the community.
At the end of the cultural event, a delicious and nutritious Newa Jho Bhoye (ethnic feast served in rows) was offered to all the participants in a traditional way in the community hall. All participants sat cross-legged onto the carpets laid on the floor in rows in front of their dinner plates according to seniority (among the first five participants). Food items with unique and enticing taste were served by volunteers dish by dish in an orderly way. All the participants consumed food with their right hand rather than using spoons and forks. The ethnic feast comprised of freshly cooked Yomaries along with Bajee (roasted beaten rice), Tahkha (unique Newa jelly meat) and Sanya Khuna (unique spicy hot jelly made from fish and meat) as main dishes. The side dishes served were: Aalu Chon (ethnic soup made from potatoes, soaked black eyed beans, bamboo shoot, and sliced dikon), Mee Kegu (food item cooked from soaked small peas and fenugreek seeds), Tuyu Simpu (food item cooked from soaked white kidney beans), Phasi (curry made from sweet pumpkin), Cauli Tarkari (curry made from cauliflower), Wauncha (curry made from green vegetables), Golveda Achar (food item cooked from tomato, sliced garlic, cilantro and green peppers), Lai Achar (spicy food item made from dikon, potatoes, cilantro, sesame seed powder, and freshly squeezed lemon juice), Bhutan (fried meat prepared from boiled liver), Julebi (ethnic sweet), Paun (ethnic sour soup made from Aamali (Himalayan hog plum), Dhau (yogourt), and Sisha Pusha (slices of raw dikon, soaked peas, and a pinch of powder salt). In the Jho Bhoye, adult participants were also served with an Ayela (Newa whiskey) that was dispensed from an Anti (traditional liquor container) in the Kholcha (small bowel).