Namaste! I am delighted to tell you about this biennial festival as I have an affinity with Nepal. I lived and worked there for two and a half years as a volunteer. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit Nepal, here is the next best thing: the fourth Nepal Festival is returning to Federation Square in Melbourne's CBD on Saturday 15 December. After successful previous events, this year's festival promises to be a vibrant and colourful fun-filled day. Immerse yourself in the rich culture at this mini Nepal from 12.00 noon to 9.00 pm.
Highlights of the Festival The festival's theme this year is 'One Country, Many Stories', so you will enjoy the incredible stories of places, people and cultural heritage. The festival will feature a cultural parade, cultural performances, exotic dancers, live music featuring local talents and bands from Nepal. You may encounter Lakhey, the demon dancer from Nepali folklore. There will be food stalls and food trucks to sample Nepali cuisine. Try my favourite - momos which are delicious Nepali dumplings. Yum. Don't miss the famous dal bhat tarkari which is a cooked lentil soup called dal, steamed rice and in-season vegetable curry. I lived on this Nepali staple for two meals per day for over two years! You can also experience the art and craft stalls (perfect for Christmas gifts), information stalls, roving performers, various activities and kids' entertainment. Celebrate this colourful festival with the whole family.
Carpet, Book and Handicrafts from Nepal (May Cross)
The Strange Worship of the World's Only Living Goddess
At the festival, you can learn about Kumari or the Living Goddess. Nepal has the unique and amazing tradition of worshipping a young chosen pre-pubescent girl as the manifestation of the divine female in Hindu religious rituals. The word Kumari means "princess" and is particular to the Newari community in the Kathmandu Valley.
Authentic Gurkha Khukri Knife (May Cross)
Ethnicity of Nepalis When I lived in Lazimpat in Nepal, my neighbour was artist and ex-pat Jan Salter. She is famous for her drawings and paintings of the many Nepali ethnic faces and their diverse colourful costumes and adornments. From the local Kathmandu Valley Newari to the famous mountain Sherpas to the Gurkha soldiers, Jan drew all of the recognised 123 ethnic groups. When I think of Nepal, it's the people I recall fondly, for their friendship and incredible hospitality.
Exquisite Nepali Silver Jewellery (May Cross)
Diverse Geography of Nepal When most people think of Nepal, they picture Everest and the breathtaking snow-covered Himalayas. But the geography is much more diverse than mountains at "The Top of the World". There are also picturesque rice paddies, tiny subsistence farms and remote villages in the valleys. There is the urban sprawl of the capital, Kathmandu with its holy temples, stunning stupors and majestic monasteries, which are familiar to tourists. But there's also the lesser known savanna plains or Terai to the south of the foothills, where you may be lucky to see elephants and other wildlife.
5 Interesting Facts About Nepal: 1. It is small landlocked country, bordered on three sides by India, and by China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north. 2. Nepal has incredible diversity with more than 125 different spoken languages and 123 ethnic groups.
3. The Australian Census in 2011 recorded 24,636 Nepal-born people in Australia, with Victoria having 4,310, and Queensland 2,138. 4. The Gurkhas in the British Army are legendary for their bravery. 5. The main religions in Nepal are Hinduism 81%, Buddhism 9%, Islam 4% and Christianity 1%.
The people and language are Nepali (not Nepalese).