The UPEI Nepalese Society recently hosted a grand celebration of Dashain, a significant Hindu festival in Nepal. The event was a tremendous success.
Dashain, also known as Vijaya Dashami, is a 15-day festival with deep cultural and religious significance in Nepal. Under the leadership of President Yash Gupta, the UPEI Nepalese Society brought this vibrant celebration from Nepal to UPEI, inviting Charlottetown’s Mayor Philip Brown and over 150 students to celebrate their culture.
Dashain is an event that celebrates good over evil. It’s a time to strengthen family bonds by forgiving past grievances. Consequently, this religious event serves as a platform for the Nepali community to connect with their heritage. Within UPEI, it not only helped Nepalese students feel as if they were back with their families and friends in Nepal, but it also provided an opportunity to showcase their rich culture to the world.
From left to right: Ketan Dulal, Yash Gupta, Richelle Greathouse, Mayor Philip Brown, Thomas Martin Cafe Owner Sushil Sapkota, Victor Karki and Ajhma Dhakal. Photo by Yash Gupta.
The vibrant decorations at the event, along with Nepali signages, transformed the venue into a mini-Nepal, reinforcing the nostalgic and heartwarming memories the students have of their hometown. The guests were served appetizing cultural meals such as momo, dal bhat, and sweets.
Key guests included Charlottetown’s Mayor, Philip Brown, and Richelle Greathouse, International Student Advisor at UPEI. Both were invited to experience Nepali traditions and customs.
Siddhartha Gautam, a first-year Computer Science international student, shared his thoughts on the event. “The event was wonderful. We enjoyed and felt proud of our culture. We had a lot of fun. As we work and study all the time, the event was a distraction from everything. We got to know many people. In the end, the event was successful, and we enjoyed it a lot. I hope the society will organize this type of event soon. Thank you!”
Smriti, another first-year undergraduate student, expressed her joy at being a part of the celebration. “Being a part of this event felt like being at home with my friends and family. When I decided to come to UPEI, I had no expectations of celebrations like this. However, when I was asked to host an event, I was blown away by the opportunity given to me. Thanks a lot – UPEI Nepalese Society.”
Sudin Lamichhane, a first-year Economics student, shared his excitement about dancing and celebrating Dashain for the first time in his life. “For the first time in my life, I danced my heart out. From the music played at the event to the food and vibe, everything felt amazing, just like Nepal,” he said.
Open DJ session after 10 pm. Photo by Yash Gupta.
Brishika Lama, a fourth-year Nursing student, thanked the UPEI Nepalese Society for organizing such a special event, which allowed her to connect with friends amid busy schedules. “It was heartening to see the UPEI Nepalese society’s and community’s efforts to recreate the festive spirit of Dashain,” she shared.
Swosteeka Lamichhane, a fourth-year Sustainable Design Engineering student, said, “The event was a reminder that cultural celebrations have the power to connect people and make them feel at home, no matter where they are in the world.”
Vice President Ajhma applying Tika to UPEI ISO’s Richelle. Photo by Yash Gupta.
Yash Gupta, the President of the Nepalese Society, said, “Since I moved to PEI, the number of Nepalese students has significantly increased. At this time of year during festivities, everyone, including me, misses our families and home a lot. Therefore, our team- UPEI Nepalese Society decided to celebrate this festival for the first time in PEI. Initially, it was tough for us to organize an event of this grand scale (over 150 people) , but we overcame all the challenges. Thanks to our sponsors Himalayan Indian Cuisine, Spicey Chef, Thomas Martin Café and City Kitchen for their significant support. We made sure to decorate the hall as a mini-Nepal. From traditional authentic Nepali cuisine to decorations in the Nepali language, we ensured that people do not miss our motherland at all.”
Guests Performing Deep Prajwalan (Lighting Diya) Program. Photo by Yash Gupta.
The Executive Team:
The Executive team of UPEI Nepalese Society has done an exceptional job in executing the event. It must have been very challenging for the team to manage the venue, food catering, finances, and efforts to get students involved while also being actively involved in their full-time studies and other part-time jobs. The executive team involved: Ajhma Dhakal, Sushil Khatri, Sabnam Gurung, Yash Gupta, and Shristi Limbu. The Team should be appreciated for going above and beyond in helping Nepalese students enjoy in a country abroad.
The event has certainly set the bar high for other UPEI cultural societies who are planning their events.