Culture and Customs


 

Though Nepal is a small country geographically, it is very rich culturally as it is multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural. Various ethnic and tribal groups have inhabited the country since time immemorial. Ethnic groups like Brahmin, Chhetri and several indigenous groups like Newar, Gurung, Magar and various others have inhabited this country for hundreds of years. Though Nepali is the official language of Nepal, but most of the ethnic and tribal groups have their own language. Over 20 regional languages are widely spoken at various parts of Nepal, besides the official Nepali language. The ethnicities have their own language and their own local culture.

A typical Nepalese meal consists of rice, vegetables, lentil soup and pickles (Dal, bhat, achar and tarkari). This is a regular meal for almost all the Nepali people as lunch and evening dinner. This too, however, differs according to different castes. Many ethnic groups have their own traditional cuisine. A typical Nepali meal is a little spicy which contains preparations of mustard oil, coriander, black peppers, turmeric, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chilly, and so on. 

Traditional folksongs are an integral part of the Nepalese society. They reflect the real stories of the everyday struggles, about love, about separation and about betrayal and injustice faced by the people. Many artists also take the help of these folktales to come up with music, songs and form of art and literature. The Nepali New Year (Bikram Sambat) begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Nepal is the only country that has its own Nepali calendar and follows Bikram Samrat and not A.D. officially. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. 

Dashain and Tihar are the major festivals in Nepal, celebrated by almost all the groups and ethnicities. The twin festivals, separated by a month, falls generally on the month of October-Novemer and the entire nation is in a celebratory mood. Besides these, there are several other festivals popular among some selected group of some ethnic community. 

Nepal's national flag, which is triangular, is the only national flag in the world which is not rectangular in shape. The red color in the flag stands for courage or aggression, while the flag's blue border signifies peace and harmony. It is believed that the curved Moon on the flag is a symbol of the peaceful nature of Nepalese, while the Sun represents the aggressive nature of Nepalese warriors, the legendary Gurkhas.