Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Culture and Custom


Nepalis are highly cultural people – with systematic & organzined calendar for the rituals, ceremonies, festivals. Especially the Kathamandu Valley is famous for its own unique way of celebrating different Jatras or Festivals since the earliest history.  The distinct festivals of Nepal give a new dimension to Hindu & Buddhist religions.

Nepalis are still deeply religious people – often to the extent of superstitions. A prominent Nepali anthropologist even blames the religious attitude of accepting all difficulties as divine will as the real cause behind Nepal’s underdevelopment. Whatever, Nepalis would like to see their culture respected by the foreigners who visit Nepal.

Marriage between two people is also a ritual affair. Most of the marriages are arranged & conducted during November & December, the harvest time in Nepal. It takes chanting of sacred mantras for whole the day to ritualize the marriage. Still, many foreigners find it romantic to wed in the Nepalese style.

Greetings: People fold both palms in front of their face, and say “Namaskar” or “Namaste” to formally greet others. The juniors by relation, age, or status are supposed to do a “Namaste” first to their seniors, & the seniors respond in the same manner. You also do the “Namaste” while saying bidding goodbye. However, these days the western or international custom of handshaking is getting increasingly popular especially among the younger generation.

Being vegetarian is not a problem as they are also well catered. In the big towns and cities, you can get virtually any kind of food you like in one of many restaurants, though western food is more expensive than local food.

The diversity in everything makes Nepalis are generally tolerant of others’ ways. However, sex is still a taboo subject in all cultures in Nepal. Baring one’s body in the public especially by the women is considered indecent behavior. Similarly, one’s expected to put off the shoes before entering the room. Public display of affection like kissing & hugging is also avoided.

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