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Ghorepani Poonhill Trek
Nepal Fact Sheet
Now that Visit Nepal 2020 is approaching near to us, every endeavor is being made by the government as well as the private sector. On one of his interview, CEO of NTB, Deepak Raj Joshi said that the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign is more focused on cultural segments as Nepal is always highlighted as a mountainous country and for avid adventurers. So, this campaign calls for the promotion of cultural heritage and tradition as well.
The influx of tourism in Nepal is at an increasing pace, and except the shimmering range of towering mountains, Nepali culture is also a matter of interest for the visitors. An ancient country sandwiched between China and India, Nepal boasts an intriguing geographical and cultural facts for its size. So to know more of Nepali culture facts here, we are.
It is believed that dances in Nepal originated in the abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas, where he performed tandav. No wonder, Nepali culture, and traditions are ancient.
Cultural dances in Nepal is accompanied by traditional music and musical instrument that depicts a different line of stories like marriage rites, crop harvesting, war stories, and so on. And you can watch some like Stick Dance, Fire Dance, and Peacock Dance during village tour in Chitwan.
Although the national dress of Nepal is Daura-Surwal-Dhaka Topi (Male) and Gunyu-Cholo-Patuki (Female), the ethnic groups in Nepal adhere to their ethnic dress that showcases Nepali culture and identity. However, the dress is mainly determined by the regional settlement.
In Terai, dhoti, kamij, gamchha, and kurta are for male, while female wears surwal-kamji, sari-cholo. Daura Surul, Bhoto, and Pheta are for males of Hilly region and females are ghalek, patasi, majestro, and dhoti. Likewise in the mountain region, bakkhu, docha, shyambu and lukani are worn by males and females wear bakkhu, dochha and pang.
So, don’t get confused while visiting the parts of Nepal, as the dress code is according to region and ethnicity and they all are Nepali culture dress.
Nepal is a religious country, and people here are very conservative. From a guy and a girl holding hands in public to covering your face from the male members of a family (of course, except husband), you can be surprised knowing the culture in Nepal.
Some intriguing one are; males member of the family eat first, touching with feet is offensive, showing affection in public is not allowed, children live with parents throughout their life, wearing skin-showing clothes is against culture.
As mentioned just above, Nepal is a religious-minded and god-fearing country, where many rituals are carried out in the hope of making God happy and have their blessing.
Of many rituals, animal-sacrifice is one of them. It is very astounding that the country where Cow is worshiped as similar to god carries such a ritual. Nepali culture is also known for their respect and reverence to animals like dogs and crow, where a festival is dedicated to them.
But, as it is established that Nepal is a religious country, the various belief is the result of centuries-old practice and these rituals do create conflict with each other.
Also, during animal-sacrifice, only five types of animals are considered acceptable for sacrifice; water buffalo, chicken, duck, goats, and sheep; however, only males.
And remember, never to ask for beef in Nepal, it is against Nepali culture and taken offensively.
Home to several religious groups, Nepal celebrates about a hundred of the festival throughout the year that shows how diverse and beautiful is Nepali culture. With the majority of Hindu followers, followed by Buddhists, the celebration is very unique.
Ten-day long celebration of Dashain is the greatest festival of all that signifies the day of Victory over Demons; likewise, five-day Tihar festival is dedicated to animals like cow, ox, dog, and crow and celebrates the relationship of brother and sister with Bhaitika as well.
Other main celebrations are Holi (festival of colors), Mha Puja (Self-Worshiping), Teej (Hindu women festival), Mani Rimdu (Spritaul Festival for the good of world), Chhath (Worshipping Sun God) and Buddha Purnima (Buddha’s birthday).
Similarly, jatras (street festival), especially in Kathmandu Valley is one of the major attraction. Intra Jatra, an eight-day festival held in early to mid-September with chariot procession; Gai Jatra, translating as “Cow Festival” is celebrated with chariot procession and masked dances, Bisket Jatra, a celebration of New Year, are some of the major jatras in Nepal.
Might put you in a confusing mode as soon as you hear “Living Goddess”; well, Nepal is where this miracle happens. Adhering to a centuries-old tradition, Living Goddess is one major highlight of Nepali culture.
Kumari, the living goddess is actually a young prepubescent girl chosen from the selected community, who have to go through several rigorous tests before the title. Mainly in the Newar community, Living Goddess is greatly revered and worshiped as the divine female energy. Once her menstruation begins, it is believed the goddess vacates her body, and the quest of the next Kumari search begins.
Several places in Nepal follows the tradition of Kumari; however, the one from Kathmandu is the Royal Kumari, who resides in Kumari Ghar in Basantapur Durbar Square. Visitors make their way to Kumari Ghar to have her blessing and is closely watched as her actions are interpreted as the prediction of petitioners live, like a cry or loud laughter meaning serious illness or death, picking on food offering meaning financial loss.
Marriage is the biggest part of life, and the decision must lie on that sole person because it is his/her life after all and there could be no better judge than themselves. But in Nepal, marriage is related to the whole family, or even relatives too.
The typical Nepali culture marriage is arranged one, where a bride and groom met on the very day of the wedding. Our grandparent's generations used to get married in the childhood age of 7-10 and see their partners face on the night of the wedding only.
However, now that younger generations are choosing their own partners, they still have to introduce and have approval from family and relatives. Also, different ethnic have their own rituals of marriage and some are really interesting. Like in Rai ethnicity, the whole of pork thigh and rakshi (local alcohol) must be in marriage, bought by groom’s side.
Dal-bhat-tarkari(lentil soup, rice, and curry) is the main meal in Nepal consumed as lunch as well as dinner. It is almost a signature dish of Nepal, much-loved by the visitors and is a major part of Nepali culture food. However, Nepal’s national food is Dhindo and Gundruk mainly eaten in the Himalayan region.
To know the culture of any country, the foods play a defining role, and Nepal has no room left on serving their guest with mouth-watering traditional cuisines. Every community has its own special cuisine to serve like Newar have Samaybaji, Tharu have Dhikari, Rai have Wachipa, Maithali has Thekuwa and so on.
However, other popular foods in Nepal are momos (you will be flooded by different flavors of momo in Kathmandu), sel roti, thukpa, chowmin, juju dhau, laphing, aalu tama, kheer and kwati. So, while in Nepal unleash your foodie-self and embark the streets of Kathmandu to know Nepali culture through foods.
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