Bhutanese refugees in different corners of the United States of America celebrated one of their greatest festivals, Dashain, last week, with great happiness and rejoicing. This festival is celebrated every year in the month of September and October. This festival marks the victory of lord Rama over the devil Ravana. It is believed that lord Rama was successful in defeating Ravana by worshiping the Goddess of power, Durga. So the festival starts by worshiping Durga for nine days. On the tenth day parents bless their sons and daughters by putting teeka (the red colored mark ) on everyone’s forehead.
Bhuwani Koirala, a Hindu priest in Boise said in Napali, “ I was worried about conserving my religion, rituals and practices in America. While in Nepal, I used to think I wouldn’t get chance to perform my rituals and festivals in the USA. Our new generation in the USA will not know anything about Hinduism. Actually I was wrong. I haven’t thought that we would have this big volume of Hindus celebrating festival together.”
He told me this at the time I went to see Hindus performing puja (religious performance) to the Goddess of power, Durga, at the Fivemile Road apartments, where some of us live.
Laxman Bastola, 86, one of the oldest Hindus in the Bhutanese community who has been in Boise since 2008 said, also in Nepali, “ I haven’t thought that I would celebrate festival in such a grand way.”
He lives with his sister-in-law and her family. His grandsons and daughters came home from different states for the festivals. They shared good foods, spent good time together and enjoyed the festival by receiving and giving blessings to each other.
For me the festival didn’t bring any remarkable happiness. My parents live in Oregon and my elder brother in Nepal. We didn’t get a chance to gather and celebrate the festival together. My mom and brother came to see me and we celebrated but we were missing my dad and elder brother a lot. However, the festival made all ethnic-Nepalese of Boise happy.
After one or two days every one moved back to their respective states. My mom and brother went to Oregon. None of the Boise Hindus had thought we would celebrate festival with such happiness and rejoice.