Growing Nepalese community wants to celebrate Teej with Tamworth

FOR a moment, a small corner of the dry Peel Valley was transported to the Himalayas of Nepal with all the colour, cuisine and culture of Teej filling the Tamworth town hall.

There’s a growing community of Nepalese people in Tamworth and on Tuesday marked the beginning of their biggest cultural festivals of the year.

Teej is a celebration of relationships and marriage steeped in traditional stories of Hindu culture and spirituality.

The festival celebrates the story of Lady Parvati who wanted to marry the god, Lord Shiva, and took to fasting.

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The day-long fast, including no drinking water, is still part of celebrations for the Nepalese Hindu women, but only after a day filled with feasting, song and dance.

Tamworth man Saroj Budhathoki outlined some of the traditions and superstitions surrounding the festival.

“If they’re already married, they don't eat for the long life of the husband,” he said.

“If they are not married, they will not eat to get a good husband like Lord Shiva, that’s the concept.”

The day of feasting can begin around 10am and continue through to the late evening.

As the Nepalese community has grown in Tamworth, the town’s Teej festivities have ballooned as well.

The turn-out was almost twice as big as last year’s and there’s some discussion about throwing the doors open to anyone who is interested next year.

“I think we have around 70 people, this year,” Mr Budhathoki said.

He said the Nepalese community had a particularly good response after publicising last year’s festival and hoped the rest of Tamworth would get behind it once again.

“If we get a good response … next year when we celebrate like this, we wanted to engage all our Tamworth community as well,” he said.

“To show them how we celebrate and the things we do.

“We want to know if anyone from the Tamworth community wants to come here and have a look, taste our food and see our culture.”

He moved to Tamworth from Sydney and where things were a bit different.

“In Sydney, this kind of thing won’t happen,” he said.

“But here, everyone seems like family.

“We have a lot of Aussie friends who wanted to see our culture as well.”

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