Culture of Nepal


Almost the entire life of a Nepalese is based on religious dogmas and institutions. Officially, Nepal is considered a Hindu country, but practically the local religion is a complex syncretic cult based on Hinduism and Buddhism, with an extensive pantheon of Tantric deities, each of which is believed to have an influence on human life. Therefore, the monasteries and stupas located everywhere are of the utmost importance in the life of the Nepalese – here he necessarily spends some part of his life, and the spiritual life of the country is also concentrated here. Nepalese are very friendly and quite simple people. The long-term isolation of the country made it possible to preserve the best features of the local ethnic group in its original form. However, the massive invasion of tourists and climbers at the end of the 20th century, as well as the emigration of a large number of Tibetans from the Tibet Autonomous District of China, brought here a lot of previously unseen elements, starting with the “achievements of civilization”, and ending with the emergence of an extensive estate of merchants. At the same time, the system of behavior and social relationships in Nepalese society has changed rather weakly, and local etiquette is still noticeably different from most neighboring countries. According to Printer Hall, the generally accepted form of greeting in Nepal is folded palms, brought to the face (usually the forehead – in case of extreme respect, or to the chin – in everyday life). The gesture is accompanied by the word “namaste” or, in the case of an address to a respected person, “namaskar”. Men usually shake hands, but with women it is customary to use “namaste”. First of all, it is customary to greet the most respected or older person. When addressing someone one should add the polite ending “-ji” to the name, or the universal term of courtesy attention “khadzhur”. The system of gestures in Nepal is also quite peculiar – agreement is expressed by a nod of the head and a shrug of the shoulders. “No” is indicated by shaking the head to the side, often with the Nepalese looking down. To call an employee or waiter, hold out your hand with your palm and fingers down. A nod means yes. But some European gestures, like sticking up the thumb with a clenched fist, may seem indecent here. As a gesture of guilt, they touch the hand or body of the offended person, and then touch their head with their hand. In everyday life, Nepalese observe many religious and moral postulates.

You cannot step over a person who is lying down or over his legs, as well as show his soles to others or allow another person to step over them. Stepping on someone’s outstretched legs is also considered offensive. You should not even touch someone else’s foot, just like touching someone with your foot (or rather, shoes). You can’t touch the head of a Nepalese and stroke the head of children – according to local canons, this is a sacred part of the body and only monks and parents can touch it. When entering a Nepalese house, a Hindu or Buddhist temple, you should take off your shoes before entering, but you can enter the house only with the permission of the owner. You can not throw garbage into the stove or hearth (the hearth is considered here a sacred symbol of the home and family). The left hand should not give or take anything, because the Nepalese use it for hygiene procedures (there is no toilet paper in the country, instead they use a jug of water) and consider it “unclean”. Do not raise your voice in conversation – this is considered a sign of anger. You can take food and eat only with your right hand (you can hold a glass in your left). Before a meal and after eating, be sure to rinse your hands and lips. Dishes that have already been filled with food by someone are inviolable and are called “jutho” (“defiled” or “contaminated”), no one can touch it. Therefore, you should not try anything from someone else’s dishes, use a common jug, and even more so – offer something from your plate or glass to other members of the feast. For the same reason, you can not touch the displayed food and even the products on the market, to drinking vessels (the host himself will pour everything that the guests ask for, and without delay) and other people’s plates. The Nepalese themselves, for example, drink from a jug or bowl without touching their edge with their lips. But the plate of the guest of honor, which is usually always a foreigner, will be constantly put without any permission. There are usually no cutlery on the table, it is customary to take food directly by hand. However, in the house, and even more so in the restaurant, they are sure to be. Buddhist stupas and other religious buildings should be walked around clockwise from the left. When visiting a temple, it is recommended to distribute alms (“baksheesh”), and it is not the size that is important, but the largest possible number of beneficent people. However, moderation should be observed here (encouraging beggars is not the most rewarding job in the world, especially in Nepal). But donations to the temple fund will be accepted with sincere gratitude. Here, near the walls of the temples, merchants of all kinds of souvenirs and services usually swarm. It is difficult to fight them off, but it is necessary – a whole crowd of people humming and asking or offering something will run after the “fell for the bait” European, which often simply frustrates all hopes of calmly getting to know the attraction. It is forbidden to bring any leather products into the territory of the temples (often even shoes are referred to them). It is forbidden to touch the believers or the offerings made by them to the gods. Women should not touch monks. You can not wash your face with water that flows into a prayer water mill. Many Hindu temples are closed to foreigners. During any excursions, it is recommended to use clothing that covers the body as much as possible. Shorts and even trousers (jeans) for women are strongly condemned here. The Nepalese themselves never open their legs, and men, even in hot weather, do not expose their torsos. And even more inappropriate is the exposure of legs or other parts of the body in a public place, for example, for washing or sunbathing.


  • January 11 – National Unity Day
  • January-February – Vasant-Pachami festival
  • January 29 – Martyrs’ Day
  • February-March – Maha Shivaratri (Shiva’s birthday, national holiday)
  • February 18-19 – Rashtriya Prayatantra Divas (National Democracy Day)
  • February-March – Holi (Fagoo, the holiday of the onset of spring)
  • March 8 – Women’s Day
  • March – Gode Jatra (Ghodejatra, Horse Day) and Saite Dashain holiday
  • March-April – Ram Navami (Ramnavani, Rama’s Birthday)
  • April – Navavarsha (Bisket Jatra, New Year) and Festival of Colors
  • April-May – Buddha Jawanti (Buddha Jayanti, Buddha’s Birthday) and Baisakh Purnima (celebration of the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha)
  • August – Rakshya Bandhan (Janal Purnima)
  • August-September – Gai Jatra (Gayatra, Cow Day)
  • August-September – Janmashtami (Astami or Krishnastami, Krishna’s Birthday)
  • September – Teej (Women’s Festival)
  • August-November – Indra Jatra (Rain God Festival) and Kumari Devi festival
  • October – Bada Dasain (Durga Puja, the main religious holiday of the country)
  • November 9 – Constitution Day
  • October-November – Deepavali (Tihar, Festival of Lights)
  • December 29 – Birthday of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Maiden
  • Weekend in Nepal – Saturday

Culture of Nepal