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Nine chances for New Year in Nepal

At Global Talent Agency, we empower every member of our team to celebrate and connect with their unique culture, and we encourage the employers we work with to do the same in your businesses – it gives you the pleasure, privilege, and endless benefit of learning how your people live, and what they consider truly important.

In our Celebrating diversity in our culture series, we introduce you to our team around the world, and some of the celebrations, festivals, and traditions most significant to them.

For many of us in Australia, celebrating New Year is something we do once every 12 months.

When 31 December rolls around, we gather at the water’s edge, in backyards and ovals all around the country, and count down to fireworks that usher out one year, and issue in the next.

In Nepal, a small, land locked country nestled between India and the mountains of Tibet, New Year doesn’t come around just once a year, or even twice – in fact, in Nepal, locals have up to nine opportunities to welcome a fresh beginning!

This year, with the ‘official’ New Year on the Nepalese calendar – Bikram Sambat – due to fall in April, we learned just how unique the country’s celebrations are, from Ojaswee Thapa, our Talent Readiness Coordinator, located in the beautiful Kathmandu Valley.

Discovering all nine Nepalese New Years

Born in Nepal to a Hindu family, Ojaswee, or Oj, as she is warmly called by our team, began boarding school in the west of India when she was four years old.

An important part of her culture, education – and often travelling long distances for it – is prioritised, as parents work to give their children new opportunities to build their knowledge and wealth.

Many young Nepalese people benefit from this focus on education, though it may mean they experience some disconnect from their local culture as they grow from children to adults.

Travelling to the school from her home in Nepal in March each year, Oj celebrated New Year on 1 January with her family before leaving, and participated in the festivals most important to her local school community throughout the year.

“When I was six or seven years old, I started to hear about celebrations on Baishakh 1, but wasn’t sure what it was all about, as I was usually at school by this time of year. A few years later, curious, I found out different cultures in Nepal actually celebrate the New Year at different times.”

Nepal is an amazing case for diversity in action, with more than 60 ethnic groups living together in the country, and celebrating various religious and cultural events in their own ways.

Many groups have their own New Years, but Baishakh 1, is considered the national New Year, based on Bikram Sambat, uniting all of the community in one celebration.

“The Nepal calendar is completely unique – we are just about to move into the year 2079 – so we live both by the local calendar and the Gregorian calendar, especially when working with global businesses. We even have two different ways of saying ‘date’ depending on which calendar we’re using.”

While Oj learned more about Baishakh 1 as she grew older, it wasn’t until more recently, with her schooling complete, that she was able to reconnect with this part of her culture more regularly.

Celebrating New Years and diversity

“Our official New Years’ also welcomes in the Spring,” Oj says. “The warm weather is perfect for picnics and hiking on the trails, and those are very popular ways to celebrate.”

In Nepal, however, just as there is more than one time to celebrate New Year, there are also many different ways of celebrating.

“For the official New Year, our family, including my cousins, all get together, and the host cooks a big meal of rice, curry, dal and yogurt, or we all bring something to share, while we enjoy music and dancing.”

Next door, or just down the road, other families and smaller communities come together in other ways.

“Some people celebrate the reincarnation of Shiva, Lord Bhairav, who was responsible for forming the Kathmandu Valley. They come together and have a big tug-of-war, with the winners able to claim bragging rights for the next year.”

Happier holidays at Global Talent Agency

Her education complete and now living back in Nepal, Oj joined the team at Global Talent Agency two months before her country’s official New Years’ celebrations, finding our approach to culture, diversity and flexibility a real positive.

In Nepal, locals work six days a week, but Oj works Australian hours, meaning her 7am to 3pm Monday to Friday hours leave plenty of time for painting, hiking and other hobbies each afternoon and on weekends.

“In Nepal, we have 55 public holidays every year, to allow for all the different cultures and religions.

At GTA, everyone gets the same number of public holidays, no matter your location. We have the opportunity to swap our local festivals in and out so we can observe holidays most important and meaningful to us and our local communities, rather than Australian holidays.”

For Oj, her role provides responsibility and independence to learn and do things on her own.

After many years away at school and university, GTA gives her the chance to remain in Nepal, with her family, and reconnect with her culture and these important events, as a well-educated adult, with a rewarding career and plenty of opportunities to grow.

“In my job, I can avoid commuting and can stay here, with my family, celebrating my culture, with a company that understands how important that is – that my culture contributes to who I am as an individual.

Yet every day, I also am able to travel the world from my desk, meeting and working with new people, learning the unique ways we all use the same language to work together.”

Read more about our diverse team and global talent success stories.