Culture and Customs
Culture and Customs

Being rich in culture, Nepal possesses many social customs and traditional values. One of the major reasons for having unique cultures in Nepal is because of its diverse geography. The rich and multidimensional cultural heritage of Nepal encompasses within itself the cultural diversities of various social, ethnic and tribal groups, literature and languages, inhabiting different attitudes and it manifests various forms like music and dance, folktales and folklores, craft and art, philosophy and religion, foods and drinks, celebrations and festivals, and so on. Being sandwiched between India and China, Nepalese culture and lifestyle at different places has been affected in a great extent. Many ethnic groups have their own dramatic culture and customs. And most of the customs go back to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Ethnic diversity and unique cultural pattern of Nepal make Nepal one of the most fascinating tourist destinations of Nepal. Nepalese society is culturally influenced by the caste hierarchy. The caste system is comprised of Brahmin-Chhetri-Vaisya-Shudra. Actually, Nepal remained a Hindu Kingdom but has now become a secular nation. Nepalese people’s love for art is evident as you will get to see attractive artworks in temples and monuments and even at the houses. We can see the typical culture reflected through valuable artworks within Kathmandu Valley and outside. There are many cultural heritages within and out of valley which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
While visiting Nepal, it’s better to know about few of the really useful and popular customs & etiquettes though:
• Ask for permission before entering Hindu Temples.
• Before entering a temple or someone’s home, take off your shoes.
• Inside most of the temples, taking photographs is not allowed. So, ask for permission before taking photographs.
• Public displays of affection such as kissing may be considered offensive in various parts of the country.
• Nepalese people are warmly welcoming and friendly in nature. Be friendly to them as you travel.
• If anyone is initiating a dialogue with you, say Hello or Namaskar or Namaste. Actually, Namaste or Namaskar is formal Nepali greeting. And to do Namaste by hand, you have to join your palms together and bring them few inches below your chin facing it upwards.
• You may accept handshake offered by both female and male. But remember that, never offer your hand first to women as it is considered rude for man to touch a woman ever shaking a hand. Instead, you do ‘Namaskar’. Handshakes are gentler and not strong. So, don’t think that the person is not interested. It’s just their way.
• For signaling YES: nod your head up to down and for NO: shake your head from side to side.
• Elders are called by their title not by their names. When you visit your friend’s parent, don’t use their names. Calling people by names like Uncle, Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister is very common. You can say ‘Aamaa’ to Mom and Buwa to Dad of your friend but never call them by their names.
• It is common to see same sex walking together hand in hand or with arms around each other. People take it as a common friendship gesture in Nepal. So, perception of friendship is realized before such terms like Gay or Lesbian.
• Many of the customs in Nepal are based on traditions and beliefs in Hindu and Buddhist religions. So, you won’t know about the customs of Nepalese until you have been with all. More than 100 ethnic groups exist in Nepal each with their own customs & traditions and languages.

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