Syracuse, NY -- Members of the Nepalese community will celebrate Dashain, the largest festival in the Nepali calendar, and they’re inviting the public to take part in the celebration.The Nepalese community will hold a festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Franklin Magnet School on South Alvord Street.
The event will feature Nepalese food, music and dance. Officials from the city, police and fire departments, schools and local colleges have also been invited, said Jai Subedi, speaking for the community.
When celebrated in Nepal, Dashain is a 15-day religious festival during which people travel home for family reunions.
Syracuse Nepalese plan to celebrate the festival from Oct. 17-22, Subedi said. During that time, people will go to the homes of their elders seeking blessings, he said.
The Nepalis living in Syracuse began arriving from refugee camps in 2008. The refugees, called Lhotshampas, are the descendants of Nepalis who more than a hundred years ago were invited by the King of Bhutan to settle in that landlocked Asian nation.
They kept their language, religion and culture in Bhutan.
But in 1985, Bhutan enacted a policy of “one nation, one people.” Under the new laws, the Nepali language and culture could not be taught in schools. Some were stripped of their Bhutanese citizenship.
Ethnic Nepalis demonstrated in 1990. About 120,000 refugees were either deported or fled from the country, living for 18 years in refugee camps in Nepal.
The U.S. has agreed to take 60,000 refugees. The first Nepali refugees in Syracuse began arriving in 2008, according to the U.S. State Department.