Nepal is a country rich in cultural heritages. A wide variety in cultural heritages and practices can be observed in Nepal. The cultural diversity of Nepal has been an area of interest to sociologists and anthropologists throughout the world. The culture of Nepal remained largely unexplored during the Rana regime. In the earlier days, the works of Kirk Patrick, Hamilton, Sir Guiessepe were a few that accounted on the basic cultural practices in Nepal. It was only after 1950 that the real revolution in cultural studies began in Nepal. Since then, Nepal has attracted sociologists and anthropologists from all over the world and is a fertile land for the study of a wide variety of cultural practices and people of different ethnicities.
From food to dresses and from languages to norms of behaviors, Nepal has its own unique blend of culture, formed and refined by hundreds of generations. Food, clothing, literature, dance, folk music etc. are all culturally classified. Each culture has its own unique history and practices. Take for example the Newari Culture of Kathmandu. The Newars are among the oldest living residents of Kathmandu and have their unique dress codes, foods, festivals etc. The festivals of Indra Jatra, Gai Jatra etc. represent a unique blend of dresses, food, folk songs and music that are the cultural assets of the Newari people. On the other hand, if we look at the Tharu community that mainly dwells in the Terai region of Nepal, we can find a unique set of practices in dance, food, music etc.
Nepalese are very hospitable people as evident from their well spoken behavior and openness towards guests. The Nepalese people believe in “Atithi Devo Bhawa”, which means guests are forms of God. Guided by this principle, the Nepalese people make great hosts and treat foreigners with utmost respect.
Majority of Nepalese are Hindu. Hindu religion is the lifeblood of Nepali lifestyle and culture and many cultural traits are based on the religion. Besides Hindu, Buddhists also constitute majority of the population in Nepal. It can be said that religion in Nepal is an amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs.
Nepal’s unique style in art and architecture has gained worldwide attention and applause. The carvings found on the walls of the temples, the statues of the Gods and deities, and the stone monuments show the artistically rich craftsmanship of Nepalese artists. Many of Nepal’s religious heritages are enriched with wall carvings and intricately carved statues that date back hundreds of years and some even thousands.
The people of Nepal celebrate numerous festivals and the celebration varies by castes and ethnicities. However, Dashain and Tihar are the grandest of all festivals and most of the people following the Hindu religion celebrate these, regardless of caste or ethnicities. Other festivals like Maha Shivaratri, Holi etc. are also largely observed.
There are very less countries in the world where such a wide diversity in language is be seen. From the Newar community to the Gurung and from the Rai to the Chepang, all speak their own languages amongst themselves. On the other hand, in the Terai region languages like Maithili, Bhojpuri and Awadhi are spoken by most of the people. But even so, Nepali language is spoken by most of the Nepali people and it stands as the national language and signifies the linguistic integrity of the Nepalese.
The cultural practices of Nepali people are being increasingly influenced by the western culture. Due to globalization and popular culture, Nepalese have taken to embracing the trends in western culture. This practice has alarmingly depleted the inclination towards the original culture. From food to costumes, all elements of national culture have been more or less effected by the foreign culture. But in spite of that, the core of our culture is still rich and preserved.
All in all, Nepal is a blend of multitude of cultural practices and people of various ethnicities. If you want to plunge yourself in the richness of Nepali culture, you will be amazed to no end.