The customs and traditions of Nepal vary from region to region. Kathmandu, the capital city, has a rich tapestry of cultures that have merged to form a national identity. Since the unification of Nepal in the 18th century, the Kathmandu Valley has served as the country’s cultural capital. Faith is a significant aspect of a Nepalese person’s daily life. Festivals, which take place during the year and are celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, add spice to the lives of Nepalis. In the celebration of these festivals, food plays an important role.
Nepal’s Parliament declared the country secular on May 18, 2006. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship, and animism are among the religions practiced in Nepal. The majority of Nepalis are Hindus or Buddhists, and the two faiths have coexisted peacefully for centuries.
Both Buddhists and Hindus in Nepal revere Buddha. Vairochana, Akshobhaya, Rathasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi are the five Dhyani Buddhas who serve the five basic elements: earth, fire, water, air, and ether. These deities are thought to be embodiments of Sunya, or pure void, according to Buddhist philosophy. Mahakala and Bajrayogini are Buddhist Vajrayana deities who are both revered by Hindus.
Hindus in Nepal venerate the ancient Vedic gods. The Supreme Hindu Trinity is made up of Bramha the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. In most Shiva temples, people pray to the Shiva Linga or Lord Shiva’s phallic symbol. Shakti, Shiva’s female counterpart’s dynamic aspect, is revered and feared, and she is known by many names, including Mahadevi, Mahakali, Bhagabati, and Ishwari. Shakti is also portrayed by Kumari, the Virgin Goddess. Ganesh for luck, Saraswati for wisdom, Lakshmi for prosperity, and Hanuman for protection are some of the other common deities. Krishna, who is thought to be Lord Vishnu’s human incarnation, is also revered.
Nepal’s ethnic diversity allows for a variety of traditions to flourish. The majority of these practices can be traced back to Hindu, Buddhist, or other religious traditions. The laws of marriage are especially intriguing among them. Parents must arrange marriages after the boy or girl reaches the age of majority in traditional marriages.
Cow slaughter is prohibited in Nepal. The cow is regarded as a Universal Mother who represents motherhood, charity, and pity. Respecting it entails putting into practice the Sanskrit principle of Ahimsa, which literally translates to “nonviolence,” and is an essential component of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. You will also be asked to remove your shoes before entering a temple or a building, so as not to pollute the pure interiors with your stained soles. Non-Hindus are not permitted to visit any temples. Eating, paying, giving, and receiving are all done with the right hand, which is called pure. Though rural Nepal is predominantly agrarian, some aspects of urban life reflect the ultra-modern world’s glitz and glamour.
Food habits vary by region, and Indian and Tibetan cooking styles have inspired much of Nepali cuisine. The Newar people, on the other hand, have their own distinct cuisine that is both varied and nutritious. The Thakalis have their own cuisine, though the staples are the same daal and bhat as the rest of Nepal. Daal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice), and tarkari (curried vegetables) are popular Nepali meals, often served with achar (pickle). Curried meat is widely consumed, but it is also reserved for special occasions.