Nepalese customs

Etiquette and custom

The most common way for Nepalese to greet and welcome is to put their hands together and say “Namaste” or “Namaskar”. When acquaintances meet, they are called “elder brother”. The Brahman is called “Ye” and the Brahman’s wife is called “grandma”. For Nepalese people, it’s better to put a “Ji” sound after their names. To show respect to the Brahman or the elder, bow your head to salute, while the elder puts his right hand on the other’s head to salute and bless. In Nepal, there is also a traditional tongue opening ceremony. When the guests and hosts meet, they first put their hands together and politely say hello to each other, and then stick out their tongues to show their sincerity. In major festivals, Nepalese people often have to do the traditional foot kissing ceremony. Nepalese people have the traditional ceremony of lighting butter lamp or red candle to receive distinguished guests, which symbolizes good luck and good respect for guests.

marriage customs

In Nepal, there are still several different forms of marriage. People who believe in Hinduism follow monogamy and hold weddings according to Hindu rituals. Polygamy is still preserved in the Northwest Mountainous Area since ancient times, which means that when a husband marries his wife, he marries all his sisters. Polygamy is a system in which a wife marries several brothers at one time.

funeral customs

Cremation is a common funeral method for Nepalese after death. Before the cremation, the dead were wrapped in yellow and white cloth and placed on the wooden altar opposite the river. Relatives shaved the hair of the dead, washed their faces with river water, and put rice and flowers into the mouth of the dead for cremation. The higher the stone altar used for cremation, the closer it is to the downstream, the more wealth it shows. But unmarried or infertile women can not be cremated. They can only wait for the flood to take the bodies away when the river rises.

Dress custom

Nepalese men usually wear suits on their upper body and white trousers with fat waist and thin legs on their lower body. Wear a black cap on your head. Traditional costumes of Nepalese women include colorful sari and ponjabi. Nepalese like brown, white, red, like cattle, landscape patterns. Nepalese forehead, often lit with a thick red Tika, that is cinnabar.

Festival Customs

Nepal’s new year is in April of the Gregorian calendar, commonly known as “Hanukkah”. During the festival, Nepalese people should take a bath and dress up to celebrate. Every August, Nepalese hold a traditional “cattle Festival” for yellow cattle. Every October, Nepalese people spend 14 days holding a grand dahira Festival.

Gift giving custom

When Nepalese give gifts, they usually have three things to give: Nepalese hat, Gurkha machete and cloth shoes. To give a hat is to show the highest respect. Gurkha machete is the national sword of Nepal, which shows protection and concern for friends. Send cloth shoes, black men and red women, intended to wish friends peace and smooth, bright future. Nepalese usually accept used clothes from tourists, but refuse to accept “dirty” food (eaten food).

Special customs

1. Nepalese always worship cattle and regard cattle as gods. In 1962, the Nepalese government officially declared the cattle as “national beast”, and legislated that the cattle were protected by law and could walk freely in the streets and alleys, and were not allowed to be slaughtered at will.

2. Nepalese nodded their heads to express disagreement, happiness, agreement and appreciation.

Taboo in Nepal:

1. Be sure to get permission before entering a Hindu temple, because temples are generally not open to non believers. Respect for local beliefs, fur items are strictly prohibited into the gate of the temple, not to touch the sacred objects in the sanctuary. Don’t climb on the statue to play or take pictures. Walk clockwise around temples or pagodas.

2. It is forbidden to eat yellow beef and slaughter female animals for food.

3. Nepalese women are more conservative and don’t have any physical contact when greeting. Women travelers should not dress too exposed.

4. Try to avoid public intimacy.

5. Nepalese believe that Gods live on top of people’s heads, so remember not to touch children’s heads.

6. Take off shoes before entering temples and houses (especially kitchens and dining rooms). And don’t step over Nepalese bodies or feet indoors. In this case, we must make a detour.

7. Don’t touch Nepalese people or objects with your feet, which is considered as a non serious offence.

8. Be careful not to touch other people’s food or tableware with your own knives, forks, spoons or hands.

9. Nepalese people should transfer things with both hands, not with one hand, especially with the left hand, because Nepalese people think that the left hand is unclean.

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