Chhath Puja 2022 Celebrated in Sydney with Traditional Splendour

Raju Manandhar
An editor at Nepalese Australian

Chhath Puja Celebration was organised by the Association of Nepal Terai in Australia (ANT-Aus.) at Angle Park, Chipping Norton, NSW 2170. The famous religious ceremony of Nepal took place from 4:30 pm to 8 pm and on Monday 31 Oct 2022 from 5:00 am to 8:00 am at the lakeside. The devotees performed the ritual by observing arghya (water offering) to the Sun, worshipping Chhathi Mata, distributing prasad (offering made of food to a God) and taking a holy dip believing that it will cleanse their skin.

The culturally spellbinding celebrations are extended beyond the border of the country. The cultural display characterized by ethnic ritual and national identity was attended by about 400 community members. The event evoked a proud reminder of the impressively typical festival of the Terai region of Nepal. The participants reckoned that the missing original festive character in their home country was relieved to a large extent.

Views expressed by the Chief Guest

ANT-Aus Executive member Ranjit Das set the tone of the event. Vice-President MD Jumaddin Hawari offered the welcome speech. H.E. Mr Kailash Raj Pokharel, Ambassador of Nepal to Australia said, “I am very thankful to the Association of Nepal Terai in Australia for organising the event that aims to preserve and promote Nepal’s proud culture and native identity. It gives a wonderful facelift to our community as it celebrates the social harmony honouring the golden principle- unity in diversity.”

Reflections of the Organiser and the Community Leaders

The Association of Nepal Terai in Australia ANT-Aus President Subansh Prasad Shah said, “On behalf of ANT-Aus, I would like to extend our special gratitude to H.E. Mr Kailash Raj Pokharel, Ambassador of Nepal to Australia for gracing the event and Mrs Basudha Nepal Pokharel.  We are thankful to all who inspired us to put the event together and make it presentable and successful as in previous years. We are looking forward to your ongoing support and cooperation.”

He shared with, “Association of Nepal Terai in Australia (ANT-Aus) has continued re-enacting the rich ethnic culture of the indigenous community of Terai since it was founded. We have organized it for the 14th time. We feel respected that many Nepalese coming from different parts of Nepal irrespective of their caste, religion, language, or cultural background participates in the Chhath celebration.”

NRNA Secretary Hom Pandey said, “ANT-Aus has been consistently organising our national festival and uniting the Nepalese people living in Australia despite coming from different regions of Nepal and belonging to different castes, religions, etc.  Every ethnic community promotes its respective diversities and maintains the common identity of Nepal. They participate in each other’s unique culture displaying the spirit of communal harmony.”

The first Nepalese Councillor in Australia Ms Bhadra Ghale said, “The celebration of the proud festival is impressive exhibition of unity and goodwill among the Nepalese people irrespective of all differences. We are appreciative of the positive contributions of all community members towards the reliable and sensible preservation and promotion of our proud culture.”

NADF President Bhisma Bhandari viewed, “I would like to thank the team ANT-Aus for organising our great festival which we celebrate as the common event. It aims to promote our proud national festival and cultural heritage in Australia and foster interest in Nepal’s unique and rich culture in the Nepalese of the second generation.”

The NRNA, Australia President Nanda Gurung shared with, “I wish everyone a happy Chhath Parba. May this sacred festival bring happiness, good health, and prosperity to all of us, especially those who live in the Terai region of Nepal. Community cooperation is always on the agenda of NRNA, Australia and it is proud to be more proactive when it comes to supporting the event dedicated to promoting Nepalese identity and native culture.”

NRNA, Australia Vice-President, and NSW coordinator Deb Gurung shared, “I feel respected to be a part of the renowned cultural event annually organised by ANT-Aus. This ceremony not only offers all Nepalese to participate in our homeland’s much-loved festival but also creates an opportunity to bring all Nepalese living here together to enjoy the festival which is mainly celebrated in Terai region of Nepal.”

The outgoing ANT-Aus Secretary and young entrepreneur Nitish Gupta shared with, “We are proud to hold this event this year too. Nepalese wherever they live across the world uphold the principle of unity in diversity which is the distinctive beauty of Nepal.”

The well-known community worker and volunteer NRNA, NSW, SCC member Deepa Joshi shared with, “We would like to thank the ANT-Aus for organising the significant festive event annually. Nepalese community in Australia is lucky that there are many community organizations such as ANT-Aus which are making good efforts to make the second generation connect to their forefathers’ proud culture.”

Also present on the lively and encouraging occasion were Deputy Coordinator Sukirti Bhatta, ICC member Prajwal Regmi, The outgoing NRNA, Australia, spokesperson Dila Kharel,  the illustrious media personality, and inspirational speaker Binod Paudel, NRNA Australia Nari Nikunja treasurer Gyoupsana Paudel, AECA spokesperson Shrishti Shah, the leading community workers NRNA, NSW, SCC member Bikash Jha, and Deepa Joshi, Tirtha Raj Khadka, Sujit Singh, Anju Shah, Surya Khanal, Kumari Gurung, and other community members.

Relevance and Significance of the Event

Chhath is a famous two-day long Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God or Surya, and Goddess Shashthi also known as Chhathi Maiyya. It is celebrated to observe cultural bonding and promote social harmony among the countrymen in Nepal. In Nepal, it is a much loved and celebrated festival for the Hindus of central Terai, especially the Maithili people. Even though this ethnic culture is mainly celebrated here in Australia by the Nepalese who have come to Australia from Terai, it is observed joyously by the Nepalese who do not belong to Terai and Maithili. On this religious occasion, the devotees worship the deities in the hope that their wishes would be granted.