Members of the Gurkha community have been celebrating the Nepalese festival of Dashain during the month of Kartik (late September and early October).
Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon.
Colonel James Robinson Colonel of the Brigade of Gurkhas addresses his soldiers:
"Dashain is upon us once again. Another year has passed and it has been yet another exceptional year for the Brigade. Whether it be on operations or in military and sporting events, we have delivered positive outcomes, demonstrating our professional agility to adapt and succeed.
"Thank you for all your hard work and effort throughout the period. However, we should equally remind ourselves of the fact that we draw strengths from our unique cultural heritage and identity. It is therefore important that we recognise what binds us strongly, and Dashain is one such opportunity which we must embrace.
"Our bicentenary celebrations last year placed the Brigade firmly in the media limelight, a remarkable feat in terms of ambition and scope. It was only right and proper that we marked our critical milestone in style and we should all be justifiably proud of our achievement that raised the Brigade’s profile worldwide.
"Nepal is making a recovery slowly from the natural disaster that hit the country last year. The Brigade’s response to the tragedy was swift and as I write this message, our Op MARMAT commitments still remain on-going and we have soldiers from Gurkha units deployed to Nepal assisting with reconstruction. The welfare of our veterans and their families is our main focus but the local communities have equally gained from our contribution. The impact has therefore been immediate and far-reaching.
High levels of discipline
Our reputational stock is high and we continue to maintain our collective image as an operationally effective military organisation in any theatre in which the British Army is involved. Our priority must be to continue to deliver the high standards of operational effectiveness for which the Brigade is renowned.
"As I write, our officers and soldiers are deployed to theatres in Afghanistan, Mali, Cyprus, the Falklands and other countries around the world. We have, as ever, many demands placed upon us for the remainder of the year but our reputation could not be higher and we must keep it that way. This means maintaining the high levels of discipline, humility, professional output and character that our forefathers are famous for.
Focus on our families
"Dashain is a time to focus on our families and thank them for the love and support that they give us all. To you goes our deepest gratitude and affection. Your strength and fortitude enable us to be who we are - Gurkha soldiers - knowing that we are supported by our families. Our Gurkha family of course includes our ex-servicemen whether here in UK, back in Nepal or around the world and to you too I extend my warmest wishes.
"To all members of our Brigade, young and old, our soldiers and their families - both near and far - I send you my warmest wishes for a peaceful but fulfilling year ahead. I wish you all a joyful Dashain and prosperous Tihar 2016."
Jai Brigade of Gurkhas.