A former model from Nepal finds Dashain in America pales before the celebration back home and paints a picture of the color she remembers
Nabina Basnet, who drew attention after becoming a runner-up in the Miss Nepal USA contest in 2011, has been a model, choreographer, model trainer, a judge and member of the jury of numerous talent and beauty shows, and a radio host. Besides, she has been a goodwill ambassador to organizations promoting social welfare, and an honorary ambassador for the Nepal Tourism Board.
“There is an enormous difference between the celebrations of Dashain here in the United States as opposed to Nepal,” she said. “Without a doubt, one of the most auspicious festivals in Nepal, Dashain – or Dashera – is a celebration of good over evil. The major difference is that in Nepal we used to get at least ten days of holiday to celebrate the festivities.” That is unimaginable in America, even around Christmas.
Basnet also spoke of the importance of connections.
“Families get together to go shopping, cook festive dishes, fly kites, and enjoy the festival with their loved ones. The essence of Dashain is not just ritualistic; it is a tradition that the majority of families hold, to bless the young ones and relatives by putting a red tikka on the forehead.”
She misses that festive atmosphere where she lives in Virginia.
“The vibe of the entire country is vibrant around Dashain, Tihar and Diwali in Nepal. In the U.S. however, without any public holiday, I must plan months ahead to save enough paid leave to celebrate the festivities with my family.”
Basnet says that the biggest festival of the year is meaningless without her kin.
“The majority of my family and relatives are in Nepal,” she said. “Without them close by, Dashain is not the same.”