S: The ABC's of Culture in Nepal
BC: The End | That's all folks!
FC: By Elizabeth Sims !2/16/10 | The ABC's of Culture in Nepal
1: A is for Art | In the Nepalese culture there are two major ways to express yourself artistically. One of those is the Tandava Dance. This is the dance that is said to be preformed by Lord Shiva. This dance expresses different feelings at particular times. This is a main way to worship Lord Shiva because it is said that he originally made up the dance, “the ‘Dance of Bliss’” ("Shiva Tandava,Tandava Dance of Shiva,Shiv Tandava Dance”). The other way to express yourself is through Thangka Paintings. This is a Newari style of painting that is created on cotton cloth and colored stones. “The paintings show the highest ideals of Buddhism” ("Types of Thanka."), say some scholars. There are three main types of Thangka: Life of Buddha, Mandala, and the Wheel of Life. All of these either depict Buddha’s life or are used to worship him. This is a huge part of the Buddhist religion that spreads vastly over Nepal. | In the Nepalese culture there are two major ways to express yourself artistically. One of those is the Tandava Dance. This is the dance that is said to be preformed by Lord Shiva. This dance expresses different feelings at particular times. This is a main way to worship Lord Shiva because it is said that he originally made up the dance, “the ‘Dance of Bliss’” ("Shiva Tandava,Tandava Dance of Shiva,Shiv Tandava Dance”). The other way to express yourself is through Thangka Paintings. This is a Newari style of painting that is created on cotton cloth and colored stones. “The paintings show the highest ideals of Buddhism” ("Types of Thanka."), say some scholars. There are three main types of Thangka: Life of Buddha, Mandala, and the Wheel of Life. All of these either depict Buddha’s life or are used to worship him. This is a huge part of the Buddhist religion that spreads vastly over Nepal. | Tandava Dance | Thangka Painting
2: B is for Buildings | In Nepal, “Most of the population lives in rural villages where houses are made of stone or mud bricks, with thatched roofs and raised eaves” (Nepal – Housing). Some of the Nepalese people make their homes out of bamboo rods. Sherpas have even figured out a way to make their houses out of wood and rocks found in the mountains. Shikhara temples are a place of worship for the Hindu people. These temples are commonly seen throughout Nepal because of its large Hindu influence. The style of these temples was influenced by the Indian style of temples. The word, shikhara, means mountain peak in Sanskrit. “It derives this name because it has a high tower that resembles a mountain peak” (John Howley). These two types of buildings represent the Nepalese culture because of the largely rural population and the large Hindu influence within the country. | Mud Brick House | Shikhara Temple
3: C is for Communication | Nepal has definitely advanced itself in the world of technology, but just how advanced is it? Cell phones and telephones are very accessible but they are not as modernized. International and long distance calls are very expensive and strictly controlled by the government.”Local calls are cheap but international and national calls are quite costly. It is better you stick to the landlines“(Communication in Nepal), say many travel guides. Though the Internet has been modernized; it is not easily accessible in much of the country. It is the easiest to access in larger cities where tourism is most prominent. “With such extensive Internet access in Nepal's major cities, you will have no difficulty keeping in contact” (Communication in Nepal), says a travel guide from “Nepal Tourism”. The government has a strict grasp on the communication of Nepal and information is not easily spread throughout the country because of this. Despite this fact Nepal is considered very advanced in its part of the world. | Cell Phones | Computers
4: D is for Dress | Though Nepal is a very small country, the traditional clothing worn by its people is very diverse and extremely dependent on where a person lives. The Daura Suruwal is traditionally worn men’s outfit that represents much of Nepalese mythology. The tunic has eight strings that help to put on the garment. Eight is also considered a lucky number in Nepal. It has five pleats or Kallis that represent Pancha Buddha. The tunic also has a closed neck. “And the closed neck of the Daura signifies the snake around Lord Shiva’s neck” (Kaji Sherpa). Sherpas, on the other hand, have a very different way of dressing that has adapted from the cold mountains that they live on. “Sherpa dress is similar to that worn by the Tibetans” (Sherpas). Sherpas wear long shirts and pants that are both made from wool. Over this they wear a long thick robe called a Bakhu that is made from yak wool. A sash secures this robe around their body. To top it all off, they wear tall boots that are also made out of wool and animal hide. This traditional dress remains prominent throughout Nepal, but some styles from the Western Hemisphere have begun to integrate themselves into the clothing. | Daura Suruwal | Sherpa Clothing
5: E is for Economy | “Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with more than half of its population living below the poverty line” (Economy in Nepal). This one sentence sums up Nepal’s economic status. A rapid population growth and an unstable economic growth have led to this situation. Since the government controls most of the business in Nepal they are also the ones that must come up with a way to fix the situation. The solution to the issues is not a strong one and could lead to even more economic struggle. “Overall, weak reform efforts have failed to stimulate broad-based economic growth. The state continues to hamper private-sector development, and political instability weakens the country’s ability to implement economic reform or create a stable environment for development” (Nepal). Nepal being a very technologically undeveloped country has also contributed to its economic situation since they do not have all the advancements that many other countries possess. | Poverty
6: F is for Family | In Nepal it is typical to see relatively large families. Typically a family will have six people in it not including the extended family members. Though the families tend to be larger they are not exactly unified. Women are ranked below men and even the children are not treated the same. “A strong son preference inevitably leads to discrimination of the girl child” (SITUATION OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN IN NEPAL 2006). Sons are held higher than daughters and are ultimately treated better than the daughters. The sons are well fed and receive a better education than the daughters who are under fed and mostly uneducated. Sons are taught the skills that they will need to work while the daughters are expected to help their mothers with chores and taking care of their younger siblings. The only time when a woman is considered higher in rank is when she is elderly and is then able to head the household. “The senior female member played a commanding role within the family by controlling resources, making crucial planting and harvesting decisions, and determining the expenses and budget allocations” (Women's Status and Role in Society). | Women | Families
7: G is for Government | The Nepalese government is headed by President Ram Baran and is a “federal democratic republic” (Nepal Government Profile 2010). Though it is partially a democracy the citizens do not have a say in government decisions. This fact has caused problems within the country. The Maoists, an activist group, are fighting to get the government under state control so citizens can have a say in government decisions. The government has tried to negotiate with the Maoists but they refuse to cooperate. “Honestly, the Maoists party did not even recognize the Mr. Nepal-led government, so they did not want to be cooperative in any level or with anything having to do with the Government (besides the frequent asking of the quick resignation of Mr. Nepal)” (Krishnahari Pushkar). This, along with the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar, has truly been a test for Nepal’s already unstable government. | Prime Minister | President
8: H is for History | Nepal’s history is based upon a Hindu-Buddhist culture that was set up in the fourth century in present Katmandu Valley. The country lived peacefully as a Hindu monarchy until 1814. The British and the Indians tried to conquer Nepal triggering a war that lasted from 1814 to 1816. The British beat the Nepalese and took control of the country. That was until 1923 when the British finally gave freedom to the Nepalese if they promised to give provisions to their troops. The Nepalese were finally free and able to practice the customs they had set up long before the war. | War in 1814 | Hindu Monarchy
9: I is for Icon | Religious icons are very prominent throughout Nepal, especially in the capital of Kathmandu. Buddhist statues depicting Buddha and Lord Shiva cause an immediate reaction from the people. This is because of the country’s large Buddhist influence. Buddha and Lord Shiva are just two of the many gods that the Buddhist people worship. | Buddha | Shiva
10: J is for Jobs | The average person in Nepal makes a living through farming, factory working, and tourism. The main things that are farmed are rice, wheat, sugar, and livestock. Most factories produce textiles, cement, and bricks. The country is very poor and many families barely have enough to provide for themselves. They continue to work hard anyway so they can keep providing. | Rice Farming | Livestock Farming
11: K is for Knowledge | In Nepal, knowledge is passed down from one generation to the next by teaching the same cultural practices and rituals to the children. The children are expected to learn these practices and teach them to their children. The practices are repeated over and over throughout the child’s life so they can be able to teach their children. | Traditions
12: L is for Language | Nepal has a wide variety of languages that come from the different ethnic groups in the country. The most common languages are Nepali and Hindi. An important word in Nepal is “Namaste” which means hello and goodbye. Shikhara, as in Shikhara temples, means mountain peak and is a largely used word because of Nepal’s location in the Himalayas. | Namaste | Shikhara
13: M is for Movement & Migration | Most people get around in Nepal by walking, driving, or riding a motorcycle. Everything is generally close together making it easy to walk from place to place. Many people from Tibet and India migrate into Nepal to escape poverty and a strict government. At the same time many Nepalese people are moving to India and Bhutan to escape poverty as well. | Motorcycle | Walking
14: N is for National Pride | Many things spark national pride in Nepal. The national flag of Nepal is unique and creates a great deal of patriotism within the country. Prithvi Narayan Shah is a famous king from Nepal who helped to gain its independence from Britain. He is highly revered throughout the country. | Flag of Nepal | Prithvi Narayan Shah
15: O is for Organizations | There are many organizations in Nepal that are set up to improve the overall well-being of the country. ABC/Nepal is a women’s rights group that is working to stop the discrimination of women and improve the overall care of women in Nepal. | ABC/Nepal
16: P is for Population | The largest population groups include the 15 to 64 age range, the racial group Indo-Aryan, the ethnic group Tharus, the religious group Hindu, and the language Nepali. The minority of the population consists of the 65 and older age range, indigenous people, the religious group Kirant, and the language Awadhi. | Ethnic Population
17: Q is for Quality of Life | The overall health of Nepal is not very good and few people have access to doctors and sufficient health care. Women are especially affected because of their low rank in society. The average life expectancy of a woman is about 67 years while a man’s life expectancy is 64 years. The happiness in Nepal is surprisingly high. There are many opportunities for jobs and government protection. Despite this most of these benefits are only available to men. Women are not included in these benefits and have little opportunity to get a job because they have such a low rank in society. | Life Expectancy
18: R is for Religion | Hinduism is the most prominent religion in Nepal and most people in the country believe in the Hindu religion. Hindus believe in karma; which basically states that for every action there is a consequence, either good or bad. They also believe in a three in one god that consists of Brahma who is the creator, Vishnu who is the preserver, and Shiva who is the destroyer. Of the many festivals throughout the Hindu religion, Holi has to be the most colorful and widely celebrated. This is a festival that is celebrated during the spring and represents the triumph of good over evil. People will make dyes out of crumbled tropical flowers and smear them all over each other which is how Holi gets its name of “The Festival of Color”. | Buddism | Holi
19: S is for Status | In Nepal many of the ethnic and religious groups are divided into their own castes. In the Chhetri ethnic group there are three castes that divided the group. These include Brahmans who are priests, Kshatriyas who are warriors and leaders, and Achut who are servants. The Brahmans hold the highest status while the Achut hold the lowest status. The men and women of Nepal are also divided by social status. Women are ranked far below men in social status. | Men over Women
20: T is for Taboos | In Nepal there are particular things that are considered unacceptable in the culture. For example, you should not pat a child on the head or wear your shoes inside any building. These actions are considered to be rude. It is offensive for women to wear shorts in public or for men to go shirtless. You should only use your right hand because the left hand is considered unclean. | No shoes inside | Women cannot wear short
21: U is for Urban or Rural | Nepal is a largely rural country with some parts being urban or urban-rural. A typical community is built in to the side of a mountain and is filled with mud brick or stone houses. The communities are more like villages and the homes are very close together. | Rural
22: V is for Vacation/Recreation | People in Nepal have fun by playing cricket and trekking. The extreme sports are evolving quickly and becoming very popular throughout the country. White water rafting, mountain climbing, and skiing have become a favorite among tourists and native Nepali alike. | White water rafting | Mountain Climbing
23: W is for Ways of Life | Since Nepal is a poor country their ways of life differ from those in other countries. Cooking is very simple and most people eat the same thing for every meal because of the lack of food. Washing is even harder because most people don’t have running water. They find any kind of water source to wash their clothes, dishes, and themselves. This has caused many health problems throughout the country because of the lack of clean water. | Cooking | Washing
24: X is for X Marks the Spot | Nepal is a small, landlocked country that is situated next to the Himalayan Mountains. The people have adapted to living at high altitudes and in freezing temperatures. Being landlocked has made it difficult to trade with other countries to make a profit. | Nepal | Mount Everest
25: Y is for Yum | A popular meal in Nepal consists of Daal, Bhaat, and Tarkaari. Daal is a lentil, Bhaat is a type of rice, and Tarkaari is a vegetable curry. These ingredients are put together to make a soup that is typically eaten for lunch and dinner. Momos are dumplings that were invented in Nepal and are typically eaten at breakfast. Burfi is a dessert that comes from the Hindi culture and is largely eaten in Nepal. | Burfi | Lentil Soup
26: Z is for Zoo | Nepal has a wide variety of animals that live within the country. Elephants and buffalo are some of the larger animals that live there. Leopards, tigers, and wolves also make Nepal their home but they are very illusive. The most prominent animal in Nepal is the yak. Sherpas use yaks to carry supplies when they are climbing mountains. | Yak | Tiger
27: References | "Nepal General Information." Vegetarian, Veg, Vegan, Raw, Natural Restaramts & Health Food Stores Guide. Web. 16 Dec. 2010.
28: Channel, By Nepal. "Travel to Nepal | By Nepal Channel." Nepal Hotel, Travel and Country Guide | By Nepal Channel. Web. 16 Dec. 2010.
29: Channel, By Nepal. "Sports in Nepal | By Nepal Channel." Nepal Hotel, Travel and Country Guide | By Nepal Channel. Web. 16 Dec. 2010.
30: Picture References | http://www.tibetan-village.org.uk/newmonks06.03.html http://www.planetrulers.com/bahamas-governor-general/ http://newshopper.sulekha.com/nepalese-president-ram-baran-yadav_photo_793192.htm http://mannaismayaadventure.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/ http://www.himalayan-imports.com/khukuri-history.html http://www.artsofasia.biz/nepal/Shakyamuni_Nepal1.htm http://travelersalbum.sulekha.com/albums/haridwar/16372/slideshow.htm http://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/4598829977/ http://net2nepal.com/general/nepals-food-supply-at-risk/ http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/nepal_34452.html http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2538/3722039322_4bc64478a1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/georg-erber/galleries/72157623080120364&usg=__RGWic7cwtNRx0XKP-GYyTDKE2UA=&h=500&w=474&sz=144&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=vVB42xEjcf6kVM:&tbnh=158&tbnw=146&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dnamaste%2Bin%2Bnepal%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D614%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=368&vpy=71&dur=42&hovh=231&hovw=219&tx=120&ty=83&ei=Ek0KTabVEoL_8AaolpCgAQ&oei=8EwKTY9wwYCUB_-Kqb8D&esq=7&page=1&ndsp=14&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0 http://www.superstock.com/stock-photos-images/1453-726 http://www.rajbas.eu/deniky-z-cest-nepal-on-motorbike-enfield http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/kathmandu-streets14.shtml http://www.mapsofworld.com/flags/nepal-flag.html http://www.himalayan-imports.com/khukuri-history.html http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=342723052972 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2009/08/for-our-friends-robbed-at-knifepoint-nicaragua-photos/ http://neilsnepal.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/situation-update-73-work-toward-federalism-in-nepal-appears-more-complex-than-the-peace-accord-and-constituent-assembly/ http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2538/3722039322_4bc64478a1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flickr.com/photos/georg-erber/galleries/72157623080120364&usg=__RGWic7cwtNRx0XKP-GYyTDKE2UA=&h=500&w=474&sz=144&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=vVB42xEjcf6kVM:&tbnh=158&tbnw=146&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dnamaste%2Bin%2Bnepal%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D614%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=368&vpy=71&dur=42&hovh=231&hovw=219&tx=120&ty=83&ei=Ek0KTabVEoL_8AaolpCgAQ&oei=8EwKTY9wwYCUB_-Kqb8D&esq=7&page=1&ndsp=14&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0 http://www.superstock.com/stock-photos-images/1453-726 http://www.rajbas.eu/deniky-z-cest-nepal-on-motorbike-enfield
31: Picture References | http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/kathmandu-streets14.shtml http://www.mapsofworld.com/flags/nepal-flag.html http://www.himalayan-imports.com/khukuri-history.html http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=342723052972 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2009/08/for-our-friends-robbed-at-knifepoint-nicaragua-photos/ http://neilsnepal.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/situation-update-73-work-toward-federalism-in-nepal-appears-more-complex-than-the-peace-accord-and-constituent-assembly/ http://www.hostelbookers.com/guide/nepal/events/holi-hindu-festival/ http://sribuddha.magnify.net/ http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/3En1cPsUMgiuIoS2vl8VYg http://www.travelswithsheila.com/caucasus/ http://www.vcdnepal.org/home_stay.php http://www.nepalecotrek.com/rafting.php http://aktivferiennepal.com/ http://www.trailguru.com/wiki/index.php/Track:Q08 http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1080098968000440835jmZeti ttp://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/nytmaps.pl?nepal http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/13870/mount-everest-height/ http://roguechef.badwolf.cx/?p=1265 http://www.trustedrecipes.com/recipe/mithai/ricotta_cheese_burfi_76013.php http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Nepal/East/Sagarmatha/Pheriche/photo442290.htm http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article39388.ece
32: Current Event | http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/907896--22-dead-in-plane-crash-in-nepal?bn=1 | This is a sad reminder of just how dangerous it can be flying a plane in the mountains. An accident similar to this happened a month ago and fourteen people were killed. The mountains of Nepal can be extremely unpredictable.
33: Dedicated to Coach Groves and Mrs. Caussey