Nepalese culture in the spotlight

Southland Nepalese Society president Indra Sunar presents Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong with a scarf as part of the Khaada ceremony during the Nepal Cultural Evening last Saturday.

NEPALESE culture from the Himalayan kingdom filled Southern Institute of Technology’s Hansen Hall on Saturday with dancing, singing, cuisine and a colourful spectrum of saris and other traditional Nepalese clothing.

Although a similar event had been held in 2012, the recently established Southland Nepalese Society, in conjunction with the Southland Multicultural Council, hosted the inaugural Nepal Cultural Evening to celebrate some of the diverse ethnic groups which made up The Roof of the World.

About 20,000 people of Nepalese descent live in New Zealand, with about 6000 in Southland.

After a short presentation about Nepal, the evening began with the traditional lightening of diyo (lamps) and a Khaada ceremony – the gifting of cream scarves to the invited dignities.

Throughout the evening, the strong relationship between Nepal and New Zealand was highlighted, beginning with the ascent of Mt Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on May 39, 1953, which still continues.

A crowd of about 500 was entertained by eight traditional dances, as well as a contemporary dance, songs and shared Nepalese food.

Special guest Dr Paula Turley, of Invercargill, also shared her experiences, having lived and worked in Nepal for two years with an aid organisation.

Images from the inaugural Nepal Cultural Evening in Invercargill last weekend. Photos: Janette Gellatly

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