It is quite normal to discover some unique cultures while traveling. In every country or continent, you find different cultures, traditions, and kinds of their lifestyle. Yet, again, what is so different in Nepal from these countries? And why there is a high chance of getting a cultural shock in Nepal?
If you think calmly and analyze, you will find that there is almost a similar kind of culture followed in the entire nation in other continents of the world.
But in Nepal, within this small territory, you can find 125 different ethnic groups. Not to mention, they have their language, culture, custom, costumes, cuisines, birth rituals, death rituals, and even marriage rituals. This means, even Nepalese people could get a severe cultural shock within Nepal.
Thus, if you are not from Nepal, you will most likely get a cultural shock. But, before that, let me give you some general ideas about the norms/ customs of Nepal that you might be unaware of. These things will come in handy to you while traveling in Nepal.
Let’s start with some common practices and prohibitions.
You can not just take photographs of any random temples in Nepal, especially the sanctum of a temple. People in Nepal, especially the religious ones do not tolerate the disrespect of their gods, and clicking the photographs of some of the sacred gods and goddess are likely the biggest sin for them. Thus, be aware of this fact. You could perhaps take pictures of the architecture of temples but avoid taking a picture of the inner gods and goddesses.In some temples (particularly famous ones), you can find signboards noticing such prohibitions.
Do not mind, if you are not allowed to enter the temple. In some Hindu temples, only Hindus are allowed.
People worship different gods on different days and visit their temples. Like if it’s Tuesday, they will go to the Ganesh temple, and on Monday, they will go to Shiva Temple. Likewise, there are certain days to worship a particular God or goddess.
There is an ethnic community called Newa Community. In that community, they celebrate at least a festival each month and have a feast with friends and families.
People follow Sanatan Dharma (Hindu religion) in almost every part of Nepal. But, once you start to climb up to the Himalayan regions, you will find Buddhism profounding over there. But that is one part of Buddhism. You can find people following three different types of Buddhism in Nepal. And, you have to bear with it.
In Nepal, people eat their meals with their right hand and with bare hands, no spoon or fork is used to eat the meal. That’s the case for each household. But, you can eat however you like; you can use a spoon/fork or try to eat with bare hands.
Nepalese society is still pretty conservative, thus, showing affection towards your partner in public is still counted as discourteous behavior. So, keep this thing in mind while hugging or kissing someone in public places. While visiting rural parts of Nepal, you must oversee your clothing too.
In Nepal, people stay with their parents their entire life. Yes, they eat altogether for at least three generations together.
If you have read some older articles related to culture shock in Nepal then, you might have studied power-cutting problems (load shedding). But, that problem is long gone in the Kathmandu valley. Remember, I am referring to the Kathmandu valley because you might encounter villages with no electricity at all if you are trekking up to the remote land of Nepal.
I think this is more of a myth than a cultural shock, but Sherpas are not the porters that you see in the Himalayan regions. Sherpa people are an ethnic tribe of Nepal whose settlements are in the shadows of the Himalayas. Thus, the porters that you are talking about or ever heard of are just doing their job since they are most capable of doing so. There are other occupations that Sherpa people do follow and there are other people besides Sherpa who work as porters. Thus, it is wrong to label the porters as Sherpa and Sherpas as porters.
In the Himalayan region of Nepal, people do sky funerals. If you have never heard about sky funerals before this, then you might get chills on your spine after knowing about it. In sky funerals, the dead body is cut into pieces and left to be eaten by the vultures. There are some specific reasons and significance for doing so.
Hence, these are some of the fundamental practices that are particularly prevalent in Nepal. This article may have improved your understanding of Nepalese culture and religion. Nevertheless, this is not the entire picture of Nepal.