The festival is jointly organised by the Non-Resident Nepali Association Australia (NRN), the Embassy of Nepal in Canberra, Nepalese Consulate Offices in NSW and Victoria and various Nepalese community organisations. While food is a big feature on the day there are also musical items, dancing, business information and an expo of Nepali culture. This year rain threatened to make the festival a washout, however after a slow start the crowd grew to near capacity spilling out of the park. A similar event will also be held in Brisbane on 11 September and in Melbourne on 20 November.
The festival was presided over by the President of the NRNA, Mr Dhuba. Official guests included MP Laurie Ferguson representing the Australian government, and my old friend Tony Stewart, representing the State government. Tony himself has been trekking in Nepal years ago.
The food was typically Nepali and I was very pleased to see a stall organized by the Gorkha Palace restaurants. It was good to have a feed of momos here and reminded me of making these at the children's home in Nepal. The Gorkha Palace restaurants are a favorite of mine and are located on Victoria Road at Gladesville and on Concord Road at North Strathfield. My good friend Saldap Lamichhale always makes you feel welcome and serves terrific, authentic Nepali food.
It was good to see traditional Nepalese dress being worn on the day and this added to the atmosphere. Dancers performed traditional dances as well as modern dances, but the highlight for many was the band 1974 AD who came all the way from Kathmandu. By the time they performed the crowd had swelled to some 20,000 people filling the park. There are a number of videos on You Tube showing the band in action.
One interesting stall in the park belonged to NetFox and MyTVchannel who are providing Nepali television channels in Australia.
Youngster are dressed in 'typical Nepalese spiderman' outfits.
Here I am pictured with another good friend, Narayan Mainali who was the Under Secretary in Canberra until recently returning to Nepal. Narayan had invited me to the festival.
Nepal is the only country in the world which has a flag which is neither square nor rectangular. Until 1962 the flag had human faces on it but these were replaced by a stylised moon and sun based on ancient Hindu symbols. The red colour of the flag represents the colour of the rhododendron(Nepal's national flower) and symbolises victory and bravery, while the blue border symbolises peace and harmony.