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South Salt Lake Journal

Members of the Nepali-Bhutanese community celebrate New Year

May 02, 2022 08:52PM ● By Bill Hardesty

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

Welcome to 2079 BS (Bikram Sambat) especially if you follow the Bikram Sambat Nepali calendar. This calendar is primarily used in Nepal and India. However, other countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and Bhutan also use the calendar.

Community Building Services (CBS), a local nonprofit, held a Nepali-Bhutanese New Year Celebration at the Columbus Center on April 16. There were over 22 guests and over 70 community members at the event.

New Year

For Nepalese and Bhutanese people, New Year is the first day of the month Baisakh. On a western calendar, it usually falls on April 13 or 14. This year, New Year was on April 14.

The New Year is marked by the day when the sun ends its Pisces indulgence and begins its Aries indulgence. The belief is that when this happens, the old year of Samvat ends, and the new year begins. Therefore, it is a day for every person to evaluate the success/failure of the work done in the past year and make plans not to repeat the failures and achieve success.

Bikram Sambat Nepali calendar

The Bikram Sambat Nepali calendar is 56 years and eight months ahead of the western calendar. While there are 12 months, the number per month changes each year with a maximum of 32 days. The calendar does not have a leap year. It is a solar calendar and is based on ancient Hindu traditions. King Vikramaditya of Ujjain gave the name and starting date for a new year.


The celebration began by introducing guests. Each guest was honored with a yellow Khada. The Tibetan custom of presenting a Khada is to show purity, loyalty, faithfulness, and respect to the receivers. A Khada is made of raw silk or silk and is loosely weaved. It is worn around the neck. The giving is ritualistic. When presenting, “take the Khada with both hands, lift it to the same level as shoulder, reach out hands, bend over, and pass it to the guest. Ensure that the top of one’s head is at the same level as the Khada. Only in this way can you express your respect and best wishes.” During the celebration, the presenter placed the Khada around the neck.

“New Year is a time to forget the past and build new hope—a new beginning,” said Tek Neopany, the executive director of CBS.

Dr. Paul Ross chaired the celebration. The CBS board of Ross, Neopany, Chandra Sapkota, Sanit Gautam, Yadu Mishra, Kaushila Rai, Aaron Acharya, Megh Nath Adhikari were introduced and thanked with certificates of appreciation. Mayor Cherie Wood presented the certificates.

There were dances from Aruna, Jenisha, Januska, Bhagya, and Sarika to the song titled Guransh Fulda Banai Ghamailo (Forests looks bright when rhododendron blossoms). Roshika and Aayusha performed “On Balak Panko Umera” (Childhood is an innocent age). Priyanka Karki danced to a traditional song titled Gauki Gorile (I am a village folk girl). Rabi Subedi sang and played the madal. The madal is a Nepalese folk hand drum. It has heads on both ends of a cylindrical body. One head is larger than the other.

CBS volunteers Nar Karki, Renuka Karki, Dhan Karki, Abinash, Ashika, and Amrita were given certificates of appreciation and gift cards for their tremendous contributions. Fatima Dirie, Amy Dott, and Halima Hussein presented the certificates and cards. Dancers were also given certificates of appreciation and gift cards.

Indian samosas, fried or baked pastries with a savory filling such as spiced potatoes, onions and peas, were served with ketchup or spicy chutney.

Gerald Brown, the director of the Refugee Service Office in the Department of Workforce Services, was an honored guest. “It is so good to see many children and beautiful parents coming together to celebrate,” he said.

Wood was also an honored guest. “I am grateful to have you in our community,” Wood said. “To have you here in South Salt Lake.”

Refugee Mother’s Day

At the celebration, attendees were reminded about the Refugee Mother’s Day Drive-Thru Celebration on May 7 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Olene Walker Family Engagement Center (3751 S. 900 West). Refugee mothers will receive a gift from the community. Utah Refugee Connection and Granite Family Engagement Centers sponsor the event.