Happy New Year to all of our Nepali friends

Nepalese celebrate 9 different new years because they have dozens of ethnic groups with their own unique calendars. While Nepal uses a solar calendar with fixed dates for most purposes, it reserves the traditional lunar calendar for religious festivals, birthdays, and “death anniversaries”. The Nepali New Year generally occurs between April 11th and 15th on the Gregorian Calendar and this year it falls on April 13. It is an official public holiday which marks the country’s 1st day of the year 2074.

Dashain celebration

Dashain, the longest and the most auspicious festival of Nepal, has started this week. It always starts with the first quarter of the moon and ends with the full moon. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil. According to Hindu mythology, the demon Mahishaura had created terror but Durga killed the demon.

The festival lasts 15 days and is a time when families and entire communities come together. The first nine days of the festival represent the battle, which took place between the different manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura and the 10th day is when Durga defeated Mahishasura.

The tenth day of the festival is the ‘Dashami’. On this day, the women prepare a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermilion. This preparation is known as “Tika”. Elders put this tika on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with abundance in the upcoming years. The red also symbolizes the blood that ties the family together.

During the entire festival people make offerings to the different representations of Durga and remember that truth and justice must prevail over evil.

All Nepali people, regardless of castes or the country they live in, celebrate Dashain.


Flying kites is a very important part of celebrating Dashain as it is considered to be a way of reminding the gods not to send more rain. You can see people of all ages on their roofs flying kites.

Playing cards is another way of celebrating Dashain. While children are busy flying kites, the older members of the family get together and play cards.

New clothes. Wearing new clothes is an important part of the festival. As many people living in the villages are below the poverty line, for them it is often the case that new clothes come only with Dashain.

Bamboo swings are constructed all over the country as a way of celebration. These swings are called ‘ping’ in Nepali and they represent the best of local culture, tradition, community spirit and fun.

Animal sacrifices and fruit and vegetable offerings. Thousands of animals including buffalo and goats are slaughtered in Dashain every year. It has been considered an important ritual since it is believed that the gods are appeased by such sacrifices. Almost all the temples, especially the Durga and Kali temples are offered thousands of sacrifices. While thousands of animals are sacrificed to appease the gods, people also slaughter animals for the purpose of feasts.

However, for the past few years the animal rights activists in the country have been opposing these acts of slaughtering of animals in such a manner. They have been requesting people to stop such inhuman acts of killing the innocent animals and instead have suggested that they offer fruits and vegetables to the gods since they believe that it is not mentioned anywhere in Hindu religious books that animal sacrifices appease the gods and goddesses.

Urgent help needed in Nepal

Today I have received some very sad news and an urgent plea for help from Yarmasing, a small Sherpa community near the Tibetan border with Nepal. This is where I spent three months in 1999 working with its people to build Namlo’s first school. Now, after the earthquake, only three houses are still standing. This leaves about 150 families (about 750 people) without food or shelter. Sushil Tamang, one our scholarship students from this village, has died in a landslide and we need your support to prevent more losses. We have a team of volunteers, some from the village, ready to implement a relief effort which will consisting of basic needs – tents, blankets, mattresses, food and cooking utensils. Dawa Sherpa, one of the villagers and Namlo’s first project coordinator, will be updating the final list of most urgent needs, which as of today amounts to 31.000 Euros. Please help these people – 100% of your donation will go to them and every donation, big and small, will have an impact.

While we wait for pictures from Yarmasing, these are from a nearby village that has also also experienced great losses.

MAGDA, president of Namlo Europa

Nepal Earthquake #NepalEarthquake

Thank you for all your calls and e-mails sharing your concern for the people of Nepal and offering to help. The magnitude of the worst earthquake in 80 years and its aftershocks, which are still occurring, are devastating. It will take tremendous coordination and time to obtain accurate information, particularly from the rural areas where we work.

The earthquake has affected 8 million people in 39 districts, of which over 2 million people live in the 11 severely affected districts. Impact on agriculture-based livelihoods and food security is expected to be extremely high.

We will keep you updated as soon as possible about how we can best coordinate efforts and help Nepal.


Namlo Europa 

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