Dashain and Tihar Banquet unites Nepalese students


Exciting and festive events are not uncommon at ULM, but most don’t come along with songs, dances, food and friends all at the same time.
This cannot be said for the Dashain and Tihar Banquet. The banquet happened Nov. 10, in the SUB ballrooms. This is how Nepalese students celebrate their culture and share it with their fellow students every year.
The event has happened every year since the Nepalese Student Association was formed. The president of the organization, Milan Katuwal, said it is unique in its ability to connect students like no other event does.
“This is a way for all the Nepalese students to get together and enjoy our culture and food,” the risk management and insurance major said. “We get to invite our American friends to enjoy a slice of our culture.”
Dashain and Tihar are two important festivals in Nepal. Both are celebrated near the end of the year, so the NSA holds an annual banquet to celebrate both of them.
Dashain is a 15-day long festival, and involves worship of the goddess Durga, who represents power. It centers on the prevalence of good over evil. Tihar is five days long and includes worship of the goddess of wealth, Laxmi, and animals such as cows, crows and dogs.
Both festivals involve familial closeness and unification, and are celebrated at the banquet by Nepalese students, faculty, staff and anybody else who wants to join in the festivities.
Katuwal said there is a lot of commitment and dedication to pull an event like this off every year. Much of the work is done by volunteers and people who aren’t members of the group. They start organizing and planning weeks in advance. Certain foods have to be imported, because traditional Nepali food is served at the event and not all of the ingredients are easy to find.
They always work for two to three days straight before the banquet to get everything ready. And all that work is well worth it because of the joy it brings to the students such as Nisha Rai.
“Back home at this time of year, we celebrate Dashain,” the senior computer science major said. “This event makes us feel at home, meeting everyone and eating together like family.”
Indeed, the banquet did give everyone a sense of togetherness. Everybody was able to experience and appreciate the wonderful Nepali culture and the power that it has to bring people together.