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Happy New Year! - Nepali community celebrates

Courtesy Photos/Igor Shkvarunets
Honoring traditions and celebrating the Nepal New Year, local NepaliAmericans and guests from across the area joined together for a on Sunday to welcome in the New Year at midnight.

Culminating in a night of dancing, the evening of music and stage presentations at the Nepali New Year event at Foxchase Manor in Manassas featured movie stars, dancers, and even a Nepali rapper.

Emcees Sunita Sanjyal and Dharma Joshi kept the night moving from dusk to the early morning hours.

Saroj Khanal, a major actor both on the silver screen and television in Nepal, and his family were special guests. Khanal, who is also known for his stage performances, gave a one-act performance to the delight of the audience. He played the protagonist in “Bhid Dekhi Bhid Samma” on television and “Prem Pinda” in theaters in his home country but has been residing in the United States for the last 10 years.

The New Year celebration in Manassas is one of the largest Nepali events in the region and is organized by Nalapani Entertainment and Production LLC.

Nepali Americans or Nepalese Americans are those whose ethnic origins lie fully or partially in the Asian nation of Nepal, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Nepal is slightly larger than the combined size of Virginia and Maryland and is tucked away in the Himalayas. Mount Everest runs partially through the country.

The April 13 festivities included a number of traditions from the mountain nation. Traditional ceremonial scarves, called “khatas,” were bestowed on the honored guests and the songs included national themes from both Nepal and the United States.

“Our primary objective is to unite Nepali people and to preserve our cultural and heritage and mutual cooperation with among all the communities,” said Sandeep Lama, one of the primary promoters.

Remod Katuwal, who has lived in Prince William County for 13 years, said there is a large Nepali community in the area.

“We do have a good number (of Nepali Americans) especially in Manassas. We try to get them together and jut to remind them,” he said, adding that the community has been growing in the last five years.

Many attendees knew one another and extended the traditional Nepalese greeting, “namaste,” which is performed by pressing the hands together and holding them near the heart.

“We all Nepalese see ourselves as having a great joy and hope in the society, and with the potential to become a responsible for the social-cultural and educational development of the Nepali communities,” read a statement on the screen at the party.

Nalapani Entertainment and Production emphasized the youth demographic by including modern rappers and singers, who put their own spin on traditional music.

Nepali rapper Seejan  Bhandari’s performance of “Karishma ko Charisma” had the audiences attention from the minute he strolled onstage.

Local political leaders, like Loudoun County Chairman Hari Sharma and Washington Baptist University president Peter M. Chang were in attendance, as were many business owners and political hopefuls.

Among them was Fairfax Supervisor John Faust, the Democratic candidate for the 10th District congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Frank Wolf (R).

“I think it is wonderful how your community comes together,” said Faust, when he took the stage.

Nepali New Year is calculated through Nepal Sambat, the traditional lunar calendar of Nepal.

That calendar fell out of daily use in the 20th century and is now used mainly for ceremonial purposes and holidays.
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