On Sunday, September 30, 2012, more than 300 Newahs and friends gathered at the second annual Yenya Punhi (Indra Jatra) celebration organized by the Newah Organization of America (NOA) to coincide with festivities in Nepal. This year, NOA continued with great Samay Bajee and barbecue for all participants but added new flare to the event. The Yenya Punhi included a pyramid-style Samay Bajee display with many different traditional food items as well as the first-ever North American Lakhey (demon) Dance and Pulukisi (white elephant) Dance along with Kumari Dance.
This historic moment made attendees feel like they were observing this festival just like in Kathmandu. NOA is proud to connect people young and old with this Newah tradition and help keep our culture alive here in the US.
An excited crowd from the Newah community and beyond gathered for the delicious Samay Bajee noon to 4:00 pm at beautiful Black Hills Regional Park in Boyds, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC. In addition to eating a delicious variety of Newah dishes and sizzling chicken barbecue on a sunny fall day, attendees enjoyed social time, music, and good company. They were entertained by the Kumari Dance by Miss Lochani Tara Shakya, the Lakhey Dance by Mr. Yagya Man Shakya, and the Pulukisi dance by Mr. Sushil Lal Shrestha and Mr. Rakesh Tuladhar, and an amazing Samay Bajee display made by Mr. Diwakar Dhaubadel. Later in the afternoon, attendees started dancing to Newah Dimay and other music. The children enjoyed recreational games and running away from the Lakhey and Pulukisi.
NOA President Mr. Season Shrestha welcomed the attendees and thanked the many generous volunteers and food contributors as well as the Executive Committee members and their families, founding members, dancers, and event coordinators. He expressed sincere thanks to Past President Mr.Rajesh Shrestha and his family for putting countless hours in to build a life-sized Pulukisi for NOA.
Newah priest and scholar Mr. Basav Rajopadhyay explained the meaning and the significance of the Samay Bajee display, Yenya Punhi (Indra Jatra), and tantric meaning of Kumari.
The Embassy of Nepal's Deputy in Charge of Mission Mr. Arjun Kant Mainally thanked NOA for promoting and keeping the tradition alive here in the US.
Past President Mr. Rajesh Shrestha told the crowd how he made the Pulukisi, and Past President Mr. Tribhuvan Tuladhar expressed his appreciation to NOA EC members for their efforts and commitments to achieve the NOA goals by planning events like this one.
NOA was pleased to distribute videos to the families who participated in NOA's June 2012 Kayeta Puja Ceremony. The Yenya Punhi celebration was very festive, and attendees were thrilled to see this traditional celebration. The festivities ended with lots of good and happy memories. Please visit NOA online, on Facebook or on YouTube to see photos and videos of the great performances.