Press Release: December 2, 2012 NS 1133 Kachhalaga, Chauthi
On Saturday, December 1, 2012, the Newah Organization of America (NOA) celebrated Nepal Sambat 1133, commemorating national hero Sankhadhar Sakhwa. The NOA President, Chief Guest, and special guests put khata (special scarves) on a picture of Shankhadhar Sakhwa in honor of his contribution to the Newah community and Nepal.
About 200 NOA members and friends gathered at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland to enjoy this special New Year celebration. The celebration started in a very festive way with the Dhimay Baja and beautiful Pancha Kanyas (Miss Lochani Tara, Miss Mala Pradhan, Miss Prisha Shrestha, Miss Lujala Ranjit, and Miss Bibhusa Pikha) welcoming guests at the door. Mrs. Haribaba Kayestha and Mrs. Bina Baidya gave the blessing tika and red kokha to all guests as they arrived. Guests received sagan so that all could begin the evening with the Newah symbols of good luck and protection from evil.
To start the program, NOA President Mr. Season Shrestha welcomed Chief Guest His Excellency Dr. Shankar Prasad Sharma, the Ambassador of Nepal; Special Guest from Nepal assistant Professor Mrs. Krishnaa Pradhan of Padma Kanya College; the Honorary Mr. Prem Raja Mahat, Consular General for Maryland and Pennsylvania; as well as organization representatives, media representatives, and all attendees. He extended warm greetings to all on the occasion of Nepal Sambat 1133, reminding the crowd that Nepal Sambat is Nepal’s own calendar and that all festival and religious ceremonies are based on this calendar. Mr. Shrestha shared that Nepal Sambat and Mha Puja were also celebrated by NOA's newly chartered chapters in Seattle, Washington; Los Angeles, Southern California; San Francisco Bay area, Northern California; and Florida. He highlighted the growing presence of Newah culture with other Nepal Sambat and Mha Puja celebrations by various Newah organizations across the world and in many different US cities.
First Past President, Founding Member, and Advisor to NOA Mr. Beda Pradhan greeted guests on the occasion of Nepal Sambat 1133 and urged people to use their real Newah surnames for their identity; to start using a calendar based on Nepal Sambat in mail, email, and so forth; and to speak Nepal Bhasa with their family members at home.
Newah Priest Mr. Basav Rajopadhyay enlightened the crowd with information about tantric practice and its relationship with Newah culture.
NOALC Chairman Mr. Ishwor Rajbhandari told the audience about NOALC’s successful annual Mha Puja celebration and about the NOALC classes that meet regularly to teach children Nepal Bhasa. Mr. Rajbhandari requested that parents help their children learn their mother language and invited all to participate in language classes.
Dr. Roshan Shrestha shared a PowerPoint presentation of very interesting facts about Nepal Sambat, highlighting the contributions of founder Shankadhar Sakhwa, bringing the calendar into daily use, politaical influences, and challenges and conflicts.
President of ANWA Mrs. Bishnu Thapa and President of NASC Mr. Dibya Hada also exchanged Nepal Sambat greetings.
Mr. Prem Raja Mahat thanked NOA for giving the opportunity to say a few words at this special occasion.
Ambassador Dr. Sharma thanked NOA for the invitation and praised NOA its work preserving and promoting Newah culture and language in the US. He also mentioned that the government of Nepal has already started using the Nepal Sambat calendar along with Bikram Sambat.
Keynote Speaker Mrs. Krishnaa Pradhan briefed the crowd about Sankhadhar Sakhwa and the beginning of Nepal Sambat.
NOA 2nd Vice President Mr. Ravi Pradhan gave a note of thanks to all attendees, including the Chief Guest, Special Guests, volunteers, organizations representatives, media, food contributors, sponsors, and performers as well as NOA Secretary Mahindra Pradhan also thanked all the food contributors.
Emcees Mrs. Babita Shrestha and Mr. Pushkar Prajapati hosted the opening session of the program. Ms. Rosy Shrestha and Ms. Sabrina Shrestha hosted the lively cultural program featuring songs and dances by local artists, including a concert by the students from the Newah Organization of America Language Center (NOALC, represented by Miss Ruby Shrestha, Miss Monique Rajbhandari, Master Joyal Ranjit, Master Bardan Tuladhar, and Mr. Eros Tuladhar). The crowd enjoyed the Classical Vajrapani dance by Mr. Yagya Man Shakya as well as many more dances by other talented artists. Ms. Sunita Amatya and Sudin Amatya, Ms. Shreyaska and Ms. Shritina Dahal, Ms. Samikshya Sapkota, Mr. Yaman Shrestha, Mrs. Sarana Shrestha, Mr. Sashi Dahal, and Mr. Anil Shahi entertained the crowd with their lively songs.
Everyone enjoyed a delicious, home-cooked traditional Newah feast (Bhoy) prepared by many volunteers with contributions by Clay Oven restaurant. The evening gave us time to learn, to appreciate our language, traditions, values, and foods, and to meet and great old friends and meet new friends.
NOA extends New Year's greeting to all Nepalese around the world and shares its best wishes for Nepal Sambat 1133!