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Culture in Nepal

Nepal is a mountainous landlocked nation located between India and Tibet. It is well-known for its stunning Himalayan range and deep valleys that form the landscape. Nepalese have a reputation for being dependable and resilient people who can endure adversity. This was recently demonstrated by the stoic national response to the 2015 earthquake. Nepalese are normally patient and peaceful, and they are not too emotional individuals. Because of their tolerance, many different faiths and races may cohabit together. Much of Nepalese culture is based on tradition and religion. However, in light of a new democratic political system, new values and concepts are being introduced to the broader public.

Nepalis are typically devoted to their country and culture. They are quite proud of the fact that their country has never been colonized and regard this as a significant difference between them and India. The Gurkhas (Nepali troops) are still highly regarded for their contribution in this regard1. Nepalis recognize the value and beauty of their country. With various religious rites, rituals, festivals, processions, and local secrets, the culture is mysterious. People, however, share a feeling of melancholy over their country's pervasive poverty and mismanagement. Poverty is an acknowledged social problem. This, along with an unpredictable political scenario, means that most Nepalis' major goal is to guarantee a stable future for their family.

Nepal is a developing country with few social services and public infrastructure. Outside of the main city of Kathmandu, there are very few urban centers. Rural areas are home to an estimated 83 percent of the population (2011). Because of the geographical isolation created by the mountains, many settlements have remained relatively isolated from outside influence, allowing many to preserve a unique cultural identity. Tribal and nomadic habits are still practiced in many regions. Because of the differences in customs and values between areas, Nepal cannot be generalized. However, it has been noticed that the more distant a group is, the more outwardly traditional its cultural practices are.

Meanwhile, those places with more education are more likely to have strayed from conventional societal norms in various ways. Kathmandu, in particular, is becoming increasingly globalized, attracting influences from all around the world. Traditional Nepali dress is currently exclusively worn in rural regions, indicating the country's recent cosmopolitan transition.

 

Customs

Nepal's ethnic diversity allows for a variety of cultures to flourish. The majority of these practices may be traced back to Hindu, Buddhist, or other religious traditions. The regulations of marriage are particularly intriguing among them. Parents must arrange weddings once the boy or girl reaches the age of majority in traditional marriages.

Cow slaughter is prohibited in Nepal. The cow is seen as a Universal Mother who represents maternity, generosity, and sympathy. Respecting it entails putting into practice the Sanskrit idea of Ahimsa, which literally translates as "nonviolence," and is an essential component of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. You will often be requested to remove your shoes before entering a temple or a residence, so as not to pollute the immaculate interiors with your discolored soles. Non-Hindus are not permitted to visit some temples. Eating, paying, giving, and receiving are all done with the right hand, which is considered pure. While rural Nepal is predominantly agrarian, certain parts of urban life reflect the ultra-modern world's glamor and splendor.

Another unusual custom is to celebrate the birthdays of elderly people at specified ages - 77, 1000 months, 88, 99, and 110 years. Janku is the name of this one. Some tribes, particularly those in the highlands, have an uncommon technique of saying goodbye to the deceased called a sky burial. Instead of cremating or burying the dead, they are left for vultures and crows to consume.

 

Food: Food habits varied by location, and Indian and Tibetan culinary methods have affected much of Nepali cuisine. The Newar people, on the other hand, have their own distinct cuisine that is both diverse and healthful. The Thakalis have their own cuisine, albeit the staples are the same daal and bhat as the rest of Nepal. Daal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice), and tarkari (curried vegetables) are common Nepali dinners, frequently served with achar (pickle). Curried meat is widely consumed, yet many people keep it for special occasions. Momos (steamed or fried dumplings) are one of Nepal's most popular snacks. In certain households, rotis (flatbread) and dhedo (cooked flour) are also staples. 

Ethnicity

The indigenous people make up about 35.81% of the total population of Nepal and very diverse within themselves too.

The ethnicity is based on the country's varied topography. Nepal's ethnic groups are categorized into three categories: indigenous Nepalese, Indo-Nepalese, and Tibeto-Nepalese. Tibeto-Nepalese people are claimed to have moved from Tibet and settled in Nepal's mountainous areas. They have a Mongoloid appearance and a culture that is similar to Tibetan society. They are supposed to dress in Bakkhu and Docha, which are heavy winter garments. The indigenous Nepalese are individuals who lived in Nepal before the other ethnic groups arrived. Their culture is highly steeped in Nepalese traditions. They are typically found in the country's hilly areas.

Finally, the Indo-Nepalese, who came from India, live in Nepal's Hilly and Terai areas. These include lush grounds, which is why farming was their principal vocation in ancient times. The Indo-Nepalese have an Aryan skin, and their culture is largely influenced by Indian customs. They make up the bulk of Nepal's population, and they can be found in practically all of the country's regions.

Traditional Attire

The Daura-Suruwal for men and Gunyo-Cholo for ladies are traditional Nepali garments that play an important role in Nepali culture. The Daura is a double-breasted kurta that is worn on the upper body and is secured with eight strings, while the Suruwal is the pant. It is typically worn with a Dhaka Topi hat and, on occasion, a jacket or waistcoat. Gunyo-Cholo is made up of a cotton saree draped like a skirt over the lower body, a shirt or Cholo, and a plethora of traditional jewelry. When a Nepali girl turns seven, she is traditionally given this garment to commemorate her coming of age. This outfit is only worn during weddings, festivals, and other important events.

 Collectivism

Nepali culture is extremely collectivist. Families may pool their assets in order for all members to be financially secure, and close friends frequently do favors for one another. This dependency has mostly been motivated by need, as the government cannot always be depended on to offer assistance. Nepalis, on the other hand, are strongly dependent on and devoted to their family and social group. People frequently sacrifice their individual ambitions for the welfare of their whole family unit. For example, one individual may work in extremely terrible conditions while giving money to others. People in rural places and at high elevations, in particular, rely on their group for survival, and basic assets are shared communally. Village elders are frequently the communities' authoritative figures. Those who are urban, educated, and globally exposed may have a more individualistic viewpoint. However, given Nepal's undeveloped state, economic independence remains elusive.

 

Friendship and Company

Most friendships in Nepal have a significant meaning and substance. They are addressed with seriousness, and they are not often superficial, fleeting connections. Sharing another person's company brings a sense of graciousness; individuals are always "humbled" to meet others, have a visitor, or make a new acquaintance. As a friendship develops, so does the expectation of loyalty and dependability. People frequently want personal favors and support from friends, and they may expect to be awarded certain advantages (such as work possibilities) as a result of the connection.

In general, Nepalis feel most at ease when they are accompanied in their activities. They enjoy company and are known to pick up a discussion for no other purpose than to converse. This part of Nepali culture makes it feel very welcoming and welcoming. Women, in particular, rarely travel alone (eklai). Those traveling alone might expect to be questioned as to why; solitary travelers are frequently sent out with a blessing and therefore are accompanied by their family's wishes and prayers.

Purity and Fatalism

In Nepal, daily life is infused with a strong moral and ethical consciousness. Religious ideals and beliefs, as well as cultural notions of purity, all have an impact on this. They are firmly ingrained and ritualized in people's diets and practices. Almost any action, item, job, or person may be classified as 'pure' or 'impure.' Nepalis can be fairly reserved, acting modestly in accordance with what is considered suitable behavior within these cultural boundaries.

The centrality of religion in many Nepalis' life impacts their approach to issue resolution. People frequently adopt a fatalistic perspective, claiming that the source of difficulties is the work of a deity or spirit. Witches, for example, are sometimes regarded to be the source of bad luck. Fatalism does not imply that humans are passively waiting for things to happen at the behest of a deity. Nepalis typically work very hard until they can no longer do so - after that, "what will be will be." Misfortunes, on the other hand, are frequently related to an individual's behavior; for example, poor health is widely thought to be the outcome of bad karma.As a result, Nepalis are considered to be stoic and accepting in adverse situations since this interpretation of difficulties might make people feel as though they deserve to suffer.

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1 The Nepali military was well-known for its part in repelling the British.

2 A list of Nepal's ethnic groups may be found in the statistics section on the right side of this page.

 

Dance and music

According to legend, dances on the Indian subcontinent began in Lord Shiva's residence, the Himalayas, and the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal, where he performed the tandava dance. This suggests that Nepal's dancing traditions are quite old. The style and costumes of Nepalese dances vary according to altitude and ethnicity. The Dishka, a bridal dance, has sophisticated footwork and arm gestures. The accompanying music and musical instruments shift in time with the subjects, which include harvesting crops, marriage ceremonies, war stories, a lonely girl's desire for her love, and various themes and stories from rural life.

Popular Dances of Nepal:

  1. Dandi Naach which is a stick dance performed during Phagu Purnima
  2. Dhan Naach which is performed by members of the Limbu community to celebrate the harvest of crops
  3. Chandi Naach performed by the Rais during Udhauli and Ubhauli
  4. Panchabuddha Nritya - a Buddhist dance that has to be performed by five people
  5. Bhairab Nritya, where the dancer dances dressed as Bhairab
  6. Khyali Naach
  7. Gauna Nritya
  8. Hanuman Nritya
  9. Kaura Naach
  10. Devi Nritya

Music is a significant part of Nepalese culture as well. It has served as a vehicle for the expression of their feelings, the telling of stories, and as a sort of amusement. Nepalese music, like dancing, is classified by the community; the Tamangs, Gurungs, Sherpas, Maithilis, Newas, Kirats, Magars, and Tharus each have their own distinct music and vocalists. Songs are frequently accompanied by musical instruments such as Madal, Dhimey, Panchai Baja, and Sarangi.

 

Architecture of Nepal

The tapering multi-storeyed pagoda style and the dome-shaped stupa style characterize Nepalese architecture.

The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, which draws a large number of tourists, is one of the world's earliest examples of pagoda-style architecture, having been established in the first century AD. It is even said that a Nepali architect called Araniko was the first to bring pagoda architecture to China. The Basantpur Palace and the Changu Narayan Temple are two further instances of this architecture. The famed Boudhanath and Swayambhunath stupas are excellent examples of stupa-style construction. Stupas erected by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC may also be seen at Patan. Another popular architectural style in the nation is the Shikhara style, which has a large mountain peak-shaped tower with stone or wood decorations.Patan's Krishna Temple is an example of this architecture. In addition to these, the Newa style, which began with the Newaris, and the Mughal style can be seen on occasion.

 

Religion in Nepal

 After being a Hindu monarchy for a long time, Nepal is now a secular society that values all religions equally and allows its inhabitants to practice the religion of their choosing. Demographic data show that Hindus constitute the vast majority of Nepal's population, accounting for 81.3 percent of the population, followed by Buddhists (9 percent), Muslims (4.4 percent), Kiratis (3 percent), Christians (1.4 percent), and the remaining 0.9 percent is made up of Jains, Sikhs, Baha'is, Jews, and some people who do not follow any religion. All religions have places of worship in the nation, and all religions have their own festivals.The Hindu and Buddhist populations in Nepal are considered to be very close, to the point that they share places of worship and celebrate festivals together. Lumbini, Nepal, is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and so a particularly sacred destination for both Hindus and Buddhists.

  

Handicrafts of Nepal:

Metalware, ceramics, textiles, wood and stone crafts, paper items, objects made of beads, bones, horns, leather, bamboo, and other materials are included. The list appears to be unending, hinting that you would never run out of things to buy in Nepal! While some of these products, such as metal sculptures of Gods and Goddesses, religious artifacts like as bells and vajra, wood carvings, lokta paper, and silver jewelry, have been produced since the country's inception, the others are relatively recent. Among textiles, Pashmina and yak wool outfits stand out. People all across the world admire and appreciate Nepali artists and craftsmen for their work.

That was all about Nepalese culture. Despite having over a hundred distinct ethnic groups, the nation appears to have unity in variety, genuinely making it a land of 'Never Ending Peace And Love.'