शनिबार, असोज ७ २०७४ | Sat, September 23, 2017
नेपालको समय: २३:४६ | Washington DC: 14:01

Gun Punhi and Yenya Punhi Observed in Edmonton, Canada

The Nepalese community living in Edmonton, Canada observed Gun Punhi and Yenya Punhi festivals amidst a special cultural event at Lansdowne Community Hall on 10th September 2017. The cultural event was organized by Newa Cultural Society of Alberta (NCSA), a local organization to practice, promote and preserve Newa culture and traditions in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Meanwhile, Gun Punhi festival is known as Kwati Punhi as in this festival people drink Kwati, a special ethnic soup prepared from nine varieties of soaked beans. Yenya Punhi festival is known as Indra Jatra as this festival is mainly dedicated to Lord Indra, king of heaven, for timely rain and good harvest.

The cultural event was inaugurated by Mr. Hari Shankhar Ranjitkar, a Newa writer currently visiting his family in Edmonton. The inaugural ceremony was followed by an auspicious Puja of Ganesh (the god of initiation), Bhairab (the god of strength) and Indra offering Nee la (sacred water), Sinha (red vermilion powder), Naibedya (a mixture of rice grains, special puffed rice and beaten rice), Jajamka (sacred threads), flowers, fruits, sweets, Khaye (holy drink made from yogurt), and Samay Bajee [a unique Newa ethnic feast comprised of Bajee (rosted beaten rice), Syabajee (roasted puffed rice), Khen (fried and boiled egg), Wo (ethnic pancake cooked from black lentils), Nya (fried fish), Choyela (roosted spicy meat), Simpu (boiled spicy kidney beans), Bhuti (boiled spicy black eyed beans), Lava Palu (fried and sliced garlic and ginger), Wauncha (boiled and spiced green vegetable), Mushya Wala (roasted spicy black soya beans), Aalu Wala (boiled and spiced potatoes), Achar (ethnic spicy appetizer made from cucumber, dikon, roasted sesame seed powder, soaked small peas, cilantro, and fresh lemon juice), yogurt, and Sisa Pusa (comprised of sliced dikon, soaked peas and a pinch of powder salt to consume at the end of the feast for digestive purpose)]. An Aarati (part of Puja in which oil light from oil light holder is offered to the deities) was also offered to deities lightning oil lamp and burning the incense.

Earlier in the cultural event, Dr. Hemanta Joshi, President of NCSA, welcomed all the guests and participants and briefly highlighted on the annual activities of the organization including Gun Punhi and Yenya Punhi cultural event. According to Dr. Joshi, observing cultural festivals regularly in the community help in maintaining, preserving and showcasing unique Newa cultural heritage. Dr. Joshi also updated on recently concluded First North American Regional Conference of World Newah Organization held in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada from September 1-3, 2017. The regional conference was hosted jointly by Canadian Newa Guthi of Brampton, Ontario; and Newa Cultural Society of Alberta (NCSA), Edmonton.

In the cultural event, Mr. Hari Shankar Ranjitkar briefly talked about the Indra Jatra festival. According to him, the tradition of pulling the chariots of the living gods (Ganesh and Bhairav) and goddess (Kumari) in Kathmandu during the Indra Jatra festival is unique in the world. Mr. Janaki Das Ranjitkar, a senior member of the community, briefly talked about the historical and cultural aspects of festivals and praised the activities of NCSA in maintaining and preserving Newa culture and traditions in Edmonton, Canada. Mrs. Laxmi Khayergoli, who is currently visiting her family in Edmonton, urged the participants to involve in maintaining and preserving Newa culture and traditions both in Nepal and abroad. Mr. Tri Prasad Dhaubhadel, executive member of NCSA, also talked about the significance of Gun Punhi and Yenya Punhi festivals.

In the cultural event, participants were served with a bowl of Kwati and delicious Samay Bajee as part of commemorating Gun Punhi and Yenya Punhi festivals. Participants were also entertained with cultural performances from local artists. A quiz related to festivals was also conducted to raise cultural awareness and entertain the participants at the end of the event.

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