Namaste Nepal program celebrates holidays


Namaste Nepal program celebrates holidays

Megan Finke , Editor-In-Chief

Over 100 people gathered in the decorated Multipurpose room of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union on Nov. 5 to partake in the Nepal Students’ Association’s annual Namaste Nepal program. 

Those who attended the three-hour event experienced various cultural performances including dances, a fashion show and Nepali music, all led by the student association. 

Nepal Students’ Association President Anubhav Bhandari said the event first began in 2016, took a year off when COVID-19 happened, but has since been back.

The program is hosted in celebration of two Nepali holidays: Tihar and Dashain. Bhandari said these two holidays create a month-long celebration in Nepal.

This year, Tihar took place between Oct. 22 to Oct. 27 and Dashain took place between Sept. 26 to Oct. 5, but changes yearly based off of the astrological Nepal calendar. 

“Tihar is the festival of light, so 15 days before Tihar, there is another one for us, it’s Dashain. So that’s the main festival for Nepal, but that and Tihar they’re equally important, it’s like one month-long holiday we have in Nepal,” Bhandari said.

According to the Nepal Tourism Board Dashain, “is the longest Hindu festival in Nepal, traditionally celebrated for two weeks with prayers and offerings to Durga, the Universal Mother Goddess. The great harvest festival of Nepal, Dashain is a time for family reunions, exchange of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas.”   

“We celebrate the victory of our Goddess Durga. She has nine different lives or reincarnations, and then each day we celebrate each incarnation,” Bhandari said.

Tickets to the event were $15 for students and $20 for other participants. The funds are going to be used to help pay for the food catered by BGSU Dining. 

Through the ticket sales, “I think it is good that we can achieve the goal of paying for the food,” Bhandari said.

Nepalese cuisine was served midway through the program, featuring food like rice pudding, chicken curry, red kidney beans, potato salad, cauliflower curry, Lal Mohan dessert and naan. The association worked with BGSU Dining to create the best dishes.

“We provided the food recipes and then it was all up to them on how to make it. We also had a food tasting one week before the programs and we approved it and then they just went along with that,” Bhandari said.

Throughout the event, there were four traditional Nepali dance performances, two song performances, some speeches and poem recitations, videos and a fashion show. 

The association also commemorated the late student Sidhant Mahat, who was a part of BGSU’s International Programs and Partnerships from Nepal and tragically died during a hiking incident.

“One of our students passed away this summer. So we had to keep connections between his family and the university to plan. So his parents came here to visit the University and then visit us as friends of their child and then we arranged their visit. The University booked the hotel and then we also shipped his belongings back to Nepal,” Bhandari said.

Namaste Nepal is the association’s main event and planning was extensive. It started in August after Bhandari was elected president and he immediately booked a room in the Union. 

“After that, we just started programming the program and getting everyone together. It was difficult but it happened, and at the end, everybody was really helpful. And every single member, they’re active, you know, for the decoration or everything, they help,” Bhandari said.

There are roughly 30 members in the Nepal Students’ Association and it isn’t heavily focused on undergraduate students, instead consisting of members spanning across all degree levels.

“We have two undergraduate students, me and my roommate, then a lot of graduate students and then a few Ph.D. students,” Bhandari said.

The essence of the people who attended was Bhandari’s favorite part of the event. 

“I invited five people, then there were Nepali students who invited 10 to 20 people. I was so happy to see different people. I was really happy that us Nepalese have a different variety of people, a very diverse set of people,” Bhandari said.

Bhandari said his association received a tremendous amount of support from the Indian Student Association when it came to attending, partaking and caring about their program. 

“Also, I was really happy with the Indian Student Association, they have a group like ours, too. So they were there to support us, they were asking for the tickets you know, one, two weeks before the program. And then, yeah, everybody was really supportive,” Bhandari said.