The Mithila Center USA successfully organized the Mithila Festival USA 2022 with Art, Culture and Literature program from 14 to 16 April 2022. Several dignitaries of Nepal, India and USA had addressed the opening ceremony of the festival highlighting the importance of Mithila art and culture. The program for the first two days was organized virtually and the closing ceremony with kids art workshop, Jude Shital festival celebration, book launching, taste of Mithila (cultural food festival) and cultural program on 16 April was organized physically in New York. USA.
The New York State Assemblywoman Hon. Catalina Cruz launched two books written on Mithila arts, and folk culture during the closing ceremony of the festival on April 16, 2022, at the Diversity Plaza, Queens, New York. The Mithila Centre USA undertook the responsibility of publishing both the books to promote Mithila arts, culture and traditions prevalent over centuries in Mithila communities in Nepal and India.
The book ” Maithili Folk Culture” authored by Dr. Ram Dayal Rakesh contains different aspects of Mithila folk culture. Another book written in Maithili language entitled “Mithilak Lok Jivan” (Folk Life in Mithila) authored by Ram Bharos Kapadi ‘Bhramar’ provides detailed information about lives of Maithili people and their culture. Our community members living in the USA, Dr. Biplav Yadav and Mr. Debnath Mahato extended their financial help for the publication of these books.
During the Festival, an Art Exhibition entitled “Art for SDGs: the Mithila Heritage continued (special emphasis on SDG 4- Quality Education) with participation of eights artists from Nepal and USA. Hon. Catalina Cruz awarded “Certificate of Appreciation “to all eight artists in recognition of their dedication to Mithila art and participation in the exhibition. The participating artists and awardees included Indrakal Nidhi, Jaykali Mukhiya, Rajkumari Mandal, Revati Mandal and Ramani Mandal all from Janakpur Women Development Centre (JWDC Nepal), Pratik Raymajhi (Nebraska, USA), Sachi Srivastava (Gorgia, USA) and Sneha Mishra from Nepal.
This year’s Festival included the first ever Kids Art Workshop on Mithila painting with participation of over two dozen children aged between five and twelve. The Kids’ workshop was conducted by senior Mithila artist and trainer Pratik Rayamajhi. Each participant of the workshop received a trophy and a certificate of participation from the New York State Assemblywoman Hon. Catelina Cruz and Commanding officer of New York Police Department Precinct 115 Cap. Jamiel Altaheri
All the local government dignitaries and audience enjoyed and very much applauded the very famous Mithila Cultural Jhijhiya song dance performance by nine years old Prachi Bishunke. Cultural program begins with a live duo performance of Raghupati Raghab Sita Ram song by Ram Adarsh Sah (Eight years) and Arya Sah (Ten years). Famous Nepali Dancer/Singer Basanti Rai, Sweta Goswami also performed during the cultural program.
As the Festival began on the New Year’s Day (14th April) of Nepali New Year 2079 Bikram Sambat, a Jude Sheetal (elder blessing with cooling head) was also celebrated following the tradition prevalent in Maithili community in which senior members of the family and community shower blessings upon their family members and others for their good-health and happiness through pouring water on the head in the current prevailing hot season. Community activist Mr. Ram Manohar Sah made remarks on the occasion. A Taste of Mithila (Cultural Food Festival) was well-organized in which home-made foods such as bari/jhori and taruwa were brought by several members of the Mithila community. Such foods were served to many visitors and persons attending the food festival program. In the virtual segment of Taste of Mithila, chef Mahesh Shah from Nepal also made a presentation of live cooking of Mithila cultural cosine.
The Inaugural Ceremony of the Festival was held online on 14th April virtually. Various dignitaries and distinguished personalities had addressed the ceremony. Among them, His Excellency Mr. Amrit Rai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations, Mr.Randhir Jaisawal, Consul-General of India in New York and Hon. Shekhar Krishnan (New York City Council Member) had made their remarks. New York State Senator Hon. John Liu (New York State Senator, New York State Assembly Speaker Hon. Carl E. Heastie, York City Council Speaker Hon. Adrienne Adams, and Mayor of New York city Hon. Eric Adams also sent a congratulatory greeting message for the grand success of the festival. Dr. Ram Dayal Rakesh and Mr. Ram Bharosh Kapari “Bharmar” appreciated the program and thanked them for arranging for the publication of their books. Further Ram Babu Dhakal, former career diplomat and Mr. Sunil Shah, Treasurer, Non-Resident Nepali Association International Coordination Council NRNA ICC) also expressed best wishes for the success of the program.
As per tradition, this year Mithila Center USA honored two legendary personalities for their long dedication and support in promoting Mithila culture and art. The honorees were Dr. Mridula Prakash who is the first PhD in Mithila Painting and Mr. Gurudev Kamat who is a well-known signer and musician of Mithila Community who has sung 400 songs in different languages including Maithili and Nepali and also a founder of Gurukul Music School, Nepal.
The Inaugural Ceremony had been watched by a wide number of viewers through social media platform Facebook of the Mithila Center USA. Mr. Amit Pratap Shah, Founder and President of the Centre had expressed appreciation to the dignitaries and experts taking part in the inauguration. Mr. Nawal Yadav former UN civil servant and strong supporter of Mithila Festival USA had moderated the program from Kathmandu in coordination with Mr. Amit Shah in New York virtually.