Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016

Rabin Man Shakya
Advisor, Nepa Chhen

The great cultural holidays of Nepal - Bijaya Dasami and Tihar - are over. This year's Halloween and Thanksgiving Day are also over. Now,  on the occasion of Christmas and New Year 2016, I extend my best wishes to all my relatives and friends living in Nepal, the US and other countries.

Nepa Chhen is a local Nepalese community organization in Portland which is committed to enrich and enhance the Nepalese arts, culture and traditions. Nepa Chhen has been  organizing various programs in the past to celebrate Nepal Sambat, Mha Puja, Lhosar, Dashain etc. It is a matter of great satisfaction that Nepa Chhen is going to celebrate Happy New Year 2016 on Dec 31, 2015 at Nekusing Memorial Theater, Portland.

Nepal is a country that probably has more cultural and traditional festivals and holidays than any other countries in the world. Art, culture, rituals and traditions are the integral part of our national life in Nepal. They are like the mirrors which catch the glimpses of the whole nation.

In economic terms, Nepal may be a poverty-stricken country, but in the front of arts, culture and traditions, there are reasons for Nepal to be proud of her cultural heritage, ancient arts and architecture.

All the countries of the world have their own cultural holidays. Well, Christmas is the most important holiday in the Christian world. Even in the former Soviet Union, the people privately celebrated the Christmas because Christmas was prohibited in the former communist superpower in those days.

I knew and heard about the Christmas still when I was a high school kid in Kathmandu. But I must admit that I came to know about North American holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving Day only when I listened to the song "I just called to say I love you."  The album entitled "The Woman in Red"  by Academy Award winning singer Stevie Wonder was released in 1984. At that time, I was still in Minsk, the capital of Soviet Belarus and we used to listen to Steve's wonderful and melodious songs again and again on our turntable.

Here in the US, we celebrate Mohani Nakha, Swanti Nakha, Nepal Sambat new year and other holidays of Nepal. Similarly, we also celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as well in our own way.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States and in Canada. Thanksgiving is the second biggest traditional and cultural holiday of the Americans after the Christmas.  Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November, but majority of Americans take a day of vacation on the following Friday to make a four-day weekend, during which they may travel long distances to visit their nearest and dearest. In fact, Thanksgiving dates back to 1621, the year after the Puritans arrived in Massachusetts, determined to practice their dissenting religion without interference and the indigenous Indians taught them how to grow corns and other harvests.

Thanksgiving dinner almost always includes some of the foods like: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes and pumpkin pie. Before the meal begins, families or friends usually pause to express gratitude for their blessings, including the joy of being united for the occasion.

Halloween is celebrated on October 31 of every year. American kids dress up in funny or scary costumes and go "trick or treating" knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The neighbours are expected to respond by giving away children small gifts of candy or money. Adults may also be attired in funny and dramatic costumes for Halloween parties.


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