Kathmandu: When Stephane MAICON first landed in Kathmandu, it was the Dashain time in Nepal. The first Dashain for him, therefore, was a completely strange experience. He first came to Nepal in September 2002, posted at the French Embassy in Kathmandu. “I was not aware that it was festival time. Within a day of arrival there was Dashain. But I did not know what it was,” he said. The first indication of Dashain for him was the sight of goats. “One morning I saw some goats at the front of the embassy gate. I was wondering what would be happening. Then I learned about the sacrifice. Then we had a puja on my car,” he recalled those first days. “My first view of Dashain was the view of the outsider. I was not feeling comfortable with open slaughtering and sacrifice of goats,” MAICON told Nepal Live Today.
Soon he found himself on this journey of discovering Nepali culture and developing appreciation for the festivals of Nepal. “I was discovering a new culture and new civilization and I was perfectly happy to discover the treasure of culture, civilization and beauty of Nepal,” he said recalling those first months. “I had a very pleasant time, wandering in the valley, discovering the city.”
Kirtipur, Bhaktapur, Nagarkot, Ichangu Narayan and Changu Narayan all looked so great to him.
What Stephane Maicon, who is currently the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Delegation of European Union to Nepal, misses are the greenery, open space and paddy fields which were in abundance 20 years ago. “The valley was dotted with paddy fields here and there. Urban settlements and paddy fields looked deeply linked with each other. It was possible to see small temples standing atop greenery or green fields around.”
MAICON made regular trips to Kirtipur, Bhaktapur, Basantapur and Nagarkot which, for him, was about meeting and witnessing traditional culture and architecture. “It was a great time for me to discover the Nepal Mandala,” he said.
Diplomats do not always get the opportunity to go back home during the festivals. So MAICON made it a point to celebrate Dashain in Khokana of Lalitpur, i
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