Culture and People of Nepal

Nepal Trekking Team

Published: January 18, 2018

Culture and People of Nepal

Nepal is blessed with one of the richest cultures in the world. Culture has been called 'the way of life for an entire society'. The statement holds particularly true in case of Nepal where every aspect of life, food, clothing and even occupations are culturally guided. The culture of Nepal includes the codes of manners, dress, language, rituals, norms of behavior and systems of belief. In Nepal, though there are more than 100 ethnic/caste groups with distinct language and culture, these diverse ethnic/caste groups can be arranged into five broad cultural groups: i) the casteoriginHindu groups; ii) the Newar, iii) the Janajati or nationalities, iv) Muslim or Musalman and v) Other (see Dahal 1995). Despite its small size, Nepal accommodates an amazing cultural diversity including linguistic plurality. The 2001 census has identified 92 languages spoken as mother tongues. Besides, a number of languages have been reported as ‘unknown’ languages (CBS, 2001), which need to be precisely identified on the basis of field observation and its analysis. This multilingual setting confers on Nepal a distinctive position on the linguistic map of the world and renders it as one of the most fascinating areas of linguistic research. It is important that the language situation in Nepal be analyzed to facilitate linguistic studies and language planning. Such an analysis is also important to examine the social structure of the country’s population since language constitutes one of its main indicators.1 This chapter is an attempt to deal with these issues related to the languages used in Nepal. Nice to Know  » The culture of Nepal is a unique combination of tradition and novelty. The traditions are followed as they were and new customs are created to keep pace with the changing times. » Culture in Nepal is an assemblage of music, architecture, religion and literature. » The mountain kingdom of Nepal is multi-ethic and multi-lingual. The land is rich with unique cultural groups like Tharu,Yadav, Ahir, Newars and others. Nepal Hospitality  Nepalese are among the most hospitable hosts. This is the reason for which tourists from far and wide enjoy coming to Nepal time and again. Local Nepalese are generally rural people who welcome the tourists to their homes for tea, coffee or supper. Nepalese are culturally warm, hospitable and affectionate hosts who place their heart above their head.

Nepal Dress Daura-Suruwal, typically termed as 'Labeda-Suruwal' is the traditional Nepali dress. The dress has several religious beliefs identifying its designs and has therefore remained the same from the years. The Daura has eight strings that serves to tie itself up around the body. Eight is the lucky number in Nepali mythology. Also, the Daura has five pleats or Kallis, signifying Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna. And the closed neck of the Daura signifies the snake around the Lord Shiva's neck. The Nepali dress for women is a cotton sari (Guniu), that is gaining great popularity in the fashion world.

Rituals The main rituals followed in Nepal are naming ceremony, rice-feeding ceremony, tonsure ceremony, ceremony of giving Nepali Sari (Guniu), marriage ceremony and funeral rite.The rituals are still prevailing in society and are performed with zeal.. Different ritual experts have different roles in these rituals.

Cultural Sites  Astonishing enough, seven out of the ten world heritage sites in Nepal are termed cultural by UNESCO. Thus, the stupas, monasteries, temples and architecture are all representatives of the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. The following are the cultural world heritage sites of Nepal.

» Kathmandu Durbar Square
» Patan Durbar Square
» Bhaktapur Durbar Square
» Changu Narayan Temple
» Swayambhunath Stupa
» Pashupatinath Temple
» Lumbini
» Bouddhanath Stupa
Apart form the world heritage sites there are other pilgrimage sites in Nepal that hold great cultural importance. A tour to these places will make you familiar with the rich Nepal culture.