The Nepalese New Year fell on Friday 14th April, two days before we left Adhikari Gaun, our village community home of the past three weeks. Like all festivals in Nepal it follows the Lunisolar Calendar, being 56 years and 8 months ahead of the predominately Western Gregorian calendar. It is now 2074 in Nepal!
The calendar originates from King Vikramaditya of modern day India in 58-56 BC, with the Rana Dynasty later establishing it as Nepal’s official calendar. The year begins with the Baishakh celebration, like the Western tradition of New Year’s Day however, unlike Western culture, Nepalese celebrate during the day rather than the evening before.
The Ventures of NE2 in Adhikari Gaun chose to organise an event to involve the local community on the day. We wanted to provide an opportunity for both adults and children within the community to partake in events together, rather than the adults engaging in the traditional custom of drinking raksi – the local alcohol brewed from millet – leaving the children with nothing to do.
During the day, we involved the whole community, especially the children, gathering them to their local football pitch. The children were very excited, as they had not done anything like this before. We organised a ‘Raleigh Olympics’, comprising of four teams of children and Ventures to compete against each other. This included many games such as a marble and spoon race which, three-legged race, skipping race and obstacle course.
We ended the day with a tug-of-war, followed by a football match, building on the successful precursor game we held against NE1 who came down from Chapthok two days previously. Adhikari Gaun beat Chapthok 2-1 then and the game saw the start of a football club as we wanted to give the children something to do on a regular basis. The New Year’s Day game, resulted in a 0-0 score.
This day of actives provided us an opportunity to become more involved with the children of Adhikari Gaun while their parents watched us compete – something for the whole family to enjoy. In the end the children all got some sweets for prizes for taking part in all the games.
During the evening, we were invited by Narmaya, the main Aama of the village, to have a celebratory meal consisting of egg or chicken, beaten rice and sel roti. This is a standard celebratory food to receive on special occasions such as New Year’s Day, Holi and weddings.
Overall, our New Year’s celebration was a thoroughly enjoyable experience which helped bring together all members of the community. The children agreed: “It’s been really fun to do something together this year,” said Prem, 13.
Words: Harry R and Sophie
Photos: Harry R and Syaza
18 April – ‘endex’ (end of Expedition); Venturers depart
22 April – Volunteer Managers depart