Live music, mouthwatering food and boisterous conversation beckoned people from all walks of life to come celebrate Nepalese art and tradition at Portland State. Every winter term, the Nepalese Student Association (NSA), one of the many student organizations at PSU, hosts the Nepalese Cultural Night. NSA is made up of both international and domestic students, most of whom have Nepalese roots—all PSU students, regardless of their heritage, can join. And they foster this attitude of inclusivity at the event as well, creating a space for community members, faculty and students and their families to mingle and share their love of Nepalese culture.
This year, the Nepalese Cultural Night took place in the Smith Memorial Student Union. The event space was illuminated with vibrant colors and decorated with traditional banners. Culturally-significant, handmade Nepalese arts and crafts were displayed in an exhibition. There were copper bowls and jewelry passed down for many generations and used in wedding ceremonies. They also displayed instruments, like Nepalese singing bowls and traditional drums, for people to try. Everyone mingled while sipping on hot chai tea and watching Nepalese films play on the projector as they waited for the main events.
Throughout the night, different performers showed off their culture. Music varied from traditional Nepalese music to karaoke songs from popular movies. Dancers floated across the stage in sparkling, cultural garments.
Halfway through the night, students in NSA and their family members filled the stage to lead a performance of Deusi Re. This traditional song is sung during Tihar, the festival of light. In Nepal, folks go to homes around their community to sing Deusi Re and dance. These households give the performers food and money in exchange for blessings.
To top off an already amazing night of entertainment—free food! The catered food included chicken makhani, vegetable khoorma, mixed vegetable pakoras, basmati rice, nan and hot chai tea. The mingling continued, but slowed down, as everyone savored their dinner.
The event gave everyone a taste of Nepalese culture and perfectly exemplified the Nepalese tradition of hospitality. So, if you weren’t able to join in the festivities and get to know the community, check out the Nepalese Cultural Night next year, or join the Nepalese Student Association.
Nabin Dhimal, a NSA member who helped organize the event, was recently featured on our blog. Read about his experience immigrating to the U.S. from Nepal and becoming a PSU student.
Photos in this blog by Nabin Dhimal Photography