Nepalese Mark ‘Republic Day’

  • City Council member Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights and Elmhurst) (center) and Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, the deputy permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations, led the first Nepal Day Parade (Photos by Dipika Shrestha for Voices of NY)

A large turnout on May 22 in Manhattan for the “Nepal Day Parade” – the first ever in New York – astonished organizers.

The parade was organized by the Nepalese-American community to mark the Republic Day of Nepal. The country became the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal on May 29, 2008.

More than 40 Nepalese community organizations in the U.S. participated, and more than 5,000 Nepalese walked from 29th Street, south to 18th Street and Broadway, carrying the Nepalese flag and celebrating the day.

Organizers had expected about 2,000 people to take part.

Luisang Waiba, one of the organizers of the parade, was really excited to see the august gathering. Waiba, who is also the president of the Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Nepal in America, said, “We never expected that the turnout would be so overwhelming.” He added: “Besides New York, Nepalese living in New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston, California, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. were seen in the parade. We really had a difficult time managing the crowd since we had deployed only 75 volunteers on the streets.”

New York City Council member Daniel Dromm and Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, the deputy permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations, led the parade. Said Dromm, who represents parts of Queens with a large Nepalese presence: “This is a wonderful parade. It’s a great day for all Nepalese and Nepalese Americans. I am really happy to see the diversity within the Nepalese community as well.”

Nepal is home to speakers of 123 languages and even more ethnic communities. The country’s diversity was on full display at the parade. Clad in ethnic attire, men, women and children were seen singing and dancing to the traditional songs, and members of some ethnic groups played traditional music.

Three parade floats passed, with Nepalese-American artists dancing to Nepalese national songs.

Rekha Hamal Chetry from New Jersey, has been living in the U.S. for 25 years and this is the first time she has attended any parade. She said, “We are used to seeing the Irish parade, Puerto Rican parade, Indian parade and so on. It’s so nice to see our own parade finally.”

Sunita Bhandari, the president of the Nepalese American Nurses Association (NANA), said, “I think this parade is a good idea to tell people what we have in our country like Mount Everest and Lord Gautama Buddha.”

Non-Nepalese New Yorkers also took in the sights at the parade, which started at 1 p.m. and ended at 4 p.m.

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