Students gathered to recognize the victory of good over evil through the Nepalese festival Dashain. The Nepalese Student Association hosted this celebration with music, food and dance Oct. 12 in the Station Center View Room.
Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal. People celebrate the Hindu goddess Durga’s triumph over the demon Mahishasura through 10-15 days of festivities with their family. While it has its roots in a specific religion, it is celebrated by all kinds of people across Nepal, freshman Aasish Pokharel said.
“It’s the celebration that good always win,” Pokharel said. “No matter whatever happens in your life, the ending is happy. ... It’s like Christmas in terms of celebration because you prepare one month early, there’s a lot of surprises, you have a lot of meetings with family, and there’s good food. It’s such a vibrant atmosphere.”
As students entered the room senior Sagar Tiwari placed red sticky rice on their foreheads and handed them a couple blades of barley grass to tuck behind their ears. The process is called Tika and Jamara; it’s a form of blessing elders give to their families during Dashain.
An important aspect of the festival is that people travel home to celebrate with their families. People often reunite with their family members that live far away during this time. International students weren’t able to travel home in the middle of the semester, so the celebration acted as a way to combat homesickness.
“I have a good family here at Northwest through the Nepalese Student Association,” Pokharel said. “We are celebrating it with great joy and jubilation, and I feel like it’s a second home for me. It’s so good that I could practice the festival here although I’m physically apart from my country.”
The event included a couple instrumental performances. Junior Susan Maharjan played “Malshree Dhun,” the traditional music of Dashain on his bansuri, a bamboo flute, accompanied by junior Saroj Paudel on the madal, a hand drum.
After explaining the cultural background of the festival, Pokharel performed a folk song medley including four traditional songs on his bansuri, also accompanied by Paudel. Once he finished playing the song on his instrument, Pokharel started singing the lyrics and the Nepalese students in the audience joined in as everyone clapped along to Paudel’s continuous drumming.
NSA members prepared authentic Nepalese food for everyone to eat. As people scooped tarkari — a spicy vegetable curry — steamed rice and chicken on their plates, Tiwari told people to take lots because he wanted to make sure everyone would be full.
Junior Malika Dahal helped plan the event. Her favorite part of the celebrations was the food.
“(Dashain) means family, lots of good food and lots of good times,” Dahal said. “Everyone is getting together, and it’s just love all around and just happiness. … I just love it when people take part in our culture. They’re happy, and they find it so pretty and beautiful. It makes me happy.”
Senior Takuya Matsumoto from Japan is in his first semester at Northwest. He attended to experience a different culture and forget his loneliness for a little bit.
“If we meet other international students and share culture and food, we can feel like we’re not alone,” Matsumoto said. “We are family members. It’s a nice opportunity for me. … I’m grateful for the Nepalese students who put on this event.”