The Fascinating Nepalese Culture and Traditions

Nepal is a beautiful country. It is known to be the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The people of this country live in harmony and with religious tolerance. It is a sovereign state which has rich culture and tradition. Due to its landlocked location and historical invasions, Nepalese culture and customs are influenced by Indian and Chinese culture. Large-scale migrations from Northern India, Tibet, China has made a diverse ethnic, linguistic pattern in this country. This country is a potpourri of ethnicity with beautiful cultural landscapes.

The People of Nepal
Nepali, (Gorkhali), which the national language, is derived from Sanskrit. 90% of its inhabitants live in villages and hilly areas. Many races and tribal groups live in different regions of the country. Its population is more than 26 million. Newars are a group of people who are believed to be the original inhabitants, and they live mainly in Kathmandu. Sherpas, one of the major ethnic groups, occupy the central and eastern regions of the country. Some of the other ethnic groups are Magars, Dalits, Kirats etc., Hinduism is the predominant religion.

Brahmins are the upper caste people and Dalits (untouchables) belong to the lower caste in Nepalese society. Freedom and opportunities that are available to women differ by ethnic groups and castes. Women belonging to higher castes do not come out in public because they believe that their family and caste reputation could be affected. Women of lower castes work for long hours for meager wages and are more outgoing. Arranged marriage is practiced in the culture of Nepal. When a child attains the nubile age, parents and elders in the family find a proper mate of appropriate status, caste, education. Usually, sons inherit the lands of their fathers, while daughters are denied from acquiring the property unless they stay unmarried at home above 35 years.

Festivals and Celebrations
Dashain is the most important festival. The festival is religious and it lasts for 15 days. Dashain occurs before rice harvest around September-October. Family members unite and celebrate it joyously. Different rituals are performed on those 15 days of celebrations. This festival is also known to be the “day of victory over evil forces and demons.” Some of their other festivals are Buddha Jayanti (birth of Buddha), Maha Shivratri (festival related to Hindu god Shiva), Mani Rimdu is a festival celebrated by Nepalese living in mountainous regions. They sing bhajans (religious hymns) and celebrate for the good of the world.