Culture and Custom

Nepalese are highly cultural people with systematic and organized calendars for rituals, ceremonies, and festivals. Especially the Kathmandu 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 the Hindu and Buddhist religions. Nepalese 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, Nepalese 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 and conducted during November and December, the harvest time in Nepal. It takes chanting of sacred mantras for whole the day to ritualize the marriage. In the high Himalaya region of Nepal like; Humla, Dolpo, Manaslu, Mustang, Everest and Langtang countryside people are practicing a polyandry marriage system. Nowadays, such cases find very rare due to the effects of modernizing systems.

Still, many foreigners find it romantic to wed in the Nepalese style. People fold both palms in front of their faces, 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, and 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.

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