One fine day in the month of January I got a call from the Director of Dharma College, Wangmo Dixie asking for help to volunteer for the Asian Cultural Festival. She said it’s a charity event and want to raise funds for the monks in India which she had planned to visit right after the event. I said I will try my best to volunteer and ask some of my friends to join. The purpose of fundraising was for the Buddhist monk so I thought to ask for help from the Buddha Nepal Peace foundation(Nepali local organization). When I explained the purpose and the details of the event to the Foundation’s President Chinkaji Shrestha he instantly accepted the proposal and was ready to help. Then I made an appointment with the Director of Dharma college to introduce President Shrestha and General Secretary Suni Rajkarnikar but General Secretary could not make it due to his work schedule and we two met a few of the organizing team led by Matthew Jarvis and Wangmo Dixie. So we finally decided to participate in representing the Nepalis community of the Bay area and started planning for it.
We had several zooms and physical meetings for the event and we worked together to make it possible. In a separate zoom meeting called by Buddha Nepal peace foundation, all the attendees appreciated the proposal since we are for the first time joining with other Asian organizations to host the first-ever Asian Cultural Festival. After explaining the purpose and importance of the event all the attendees unanimously decided to lead me as a program coordinator as I had been commuting with the organizing team from the beginning. But due to my busy schedule, I was not ready to coordinate the entire event so Foundation’s President and General secretary agreed to team up to lighten my burden so I had no other option than to accept.
As a coordinator, I must congratulate the entire team for joining hands together to make it happen, And my special and humble thanks go to Foundation’s President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Secretary, and the entire team for taking their responsibilities seriously and making it historical event. my special thanks go to all the volunteers, more than 25 Dancers and performers( thanks Bay area Nepali community and organizations for your time, efforts, and great support to showcase our ethnic and cultural dances), volunteers of food and arts & crafts booths, a team of Lakhe Dance and all the attendees of our community who personally initiated to attend and spread the news out and encourage other to attend. Big thanks to the Lions Club of Berkeley Makalu’s President Lion Rajendra Mukhia for donating 400 vegetable momos. Thanks, for accepting our request to make Sel roti and my wife Sabita for making Alu ko achar, my sincere thanks to everyone who provided necessary items for the booth and event, and finally thanks to Bhakta Thapa ( momo and Kabab) for running smoothly the food stall despite his health condition. Your time and effort are really appreciated. Once again thanks to all who directly or indirectly help to make our representation so smooth.
After a long pandemic, the vibrant and most diverse city of Berkeley attracted lots of local and Bay area Asian communities together for the first-ever Asian Cultural festival initiated by Dharma College and the Downtown Berkeley Association. According to most of the participants, the event was full of colorful Dances and live performances with authentic food sampling of participating organizations. Nepali Sel Roti and on-the-spot steamed momo attracted the foodies of Berkeley. Major Participating groups representing Thai, Japanese, Nepali, Burmese and Indian cultures had brought their authentic sampling dishes for sale.
The Cultural program started right after the visit of the City of Berkeley’s mayor Mr.Jesse Arreguín who personally visited and welcomed participating organizations with his welcome note. Other speakers were John Caner, Rigel R, and Kate H. The Dances and music performances starter at noon with the Berkeley Thai Temple’s dance followed by Fremont Thai temple. After a short break and DJ, Nepalis Dancers came to the stage with a series of more than seven folks and remixed Dances from the small kids to young adult dancers followed by Lakhe Dance. This Mask dance is one of the most ancient dances of a demon in the carnival of God, it is one of the cultural symbols of the Newar indigenous community of Nepal. It is mostly performed live in the crowds on the last day of Indra Jatra. Just before ending the festival live Performance of Taiko attracted the crows, a broad range of Japanese percussion instruments played with action and tricks.