The culture of Nepal is rich and unique. The cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries. This multi-dimensional heritage encompasses the diversities of Nepal's ethnic, tribal, and social groups, and it manifests in music and dance; art and craft; folklore and folktales; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebration; foods and drinks. Its culture is mostly influenced by Indian, Mongolian and Tibetan culture.
Dance and music
Legends state that dances in this country originated in the abode of Lord Shiva — the Himalayas, where he performed the tandava dance. This indicates that dance traditions of Nepal are very ancient and unique. With altitudes and ethnicity, the dances of Nepal slightly change in style as well as in the costumes. The Dishka, a dance performed at weddings, includes intricate footwork and arm movements. Accompanying music and musical instruments change in tune with the themes, which revolve around topics like harvesting of crops, marriage rites, war stories, a lonely girl’s yearning for her love, and several other themes and stories from everyday life in the villages. The famous Tharu stick dances, and the crazy peacock dance are two highlights, but there are plenty of other surprises. Expect to be invited to join in the dancing, as the evening reaches its climax.
As per the 2011 census, 123 languages are spoken in Nepal. Nepal's linguistic heritage has evolved from three major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, and indigenous. The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali (44.6%), Maithili (11.7%), Bhojpuri(6%), Tharu (5.8%), Tamang (5.1%), Nepal Bhasa (3.2%), Magar (3%) and Bajjika (3%) Kirat-Sunuwar, Limbu, Rai, Gurung, .
Nepali, written in Devanagari script, is the official national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalese ethno-linguistic groups. Extinct languages of Nepal include Kusunda, MaWalinga and Waling
Religions and philosophy of Nepal
The 2001 census identified 80.6% of the population being Hindu. Buddhism was practiced by about 11% of the population (although many people labelled Hindu or Buddhist often practice a syncretic blend of Hinduism, Buddhism, and/or animist traditions). About 3.2% practice Islam and 3.6% of the population follows the indigenous Kirant religion. Christianity is practiced officially by less than 0.5%.
Hindu and Buddhist traditions in Nepal go back more than two millennia. In Lumbini, Buddha was born, and Pashupatinath temple, Kathmandu, is an old and famous Shiva temple of Hindus. Nepal has several other temples and Buddhist monasteries, as well as places of worship of other religious groups. Traditionally, Nepalese philosophical thoughts are ingrained with the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical ethos and traditions, which include elements of Kashmir Shaivism, Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, works of Karmacharyas of Bhaktapur, and tantric traditions. Tantric traditions are deep rooted in Nepal, including the practice of animal sacrifices. Five types of animals, always male, are considered acceptable for sacrifice: water buffalo, goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks. Cows are very sacred animals and are never considered acceptable for sacrifice.
Festivals and celebrations
Several of the festivals of Nepal last from one to several days. As a predominantly Hindu and Buddhist nation, most of the Nepalese festivals are religious ones. The festivals of Nepal have their roots in Hinduism as 82% of the population of the country is Hindu. Buddhism, the second-largest religion of the nation which accounts for 9% of the population, has influenced the cultural festivals of Nepal. Dashain or Dusshera is the longest and the most important festival of Nepal. Generally Dashain falls in late September to mid-October, right after the end of the monsoon season. It is "a day of Victory over Demons". The Newars celebrate the festival as Mohani. Tihar or Diwali, Holi, Saraswati Puja, Rakshabandhan, Bhai Dooj, Janmashtami, Kali Puja, Gai Jatra, Nag Panchami, Teej, Chhath, Kartik Poornima, Maghe Sankranti, Ganesh Chaturthi, Maha Shivratri and Chhechu are other widely celebrated important festivals of Nepal. New Year's Day of the lunar calendar Nepal Sambat occurs in November. Several Jatras took place throughout the year and public holidays are declared in some regions.
Other important festivals include Buddha Purnima (the celebration of the birth of Buddha)Maha Shivaratri (a festival of Lord Shiva) and during Maha Shivaratri festivities, some people consume excessive drinks and smoke charas.Sherpas, mostly located at higher altitudes and in the Mount Everest region, celebrate Mani Rimdu, for the good of the world.
Most festivals include dancing and music, and a variety of special foods are consumed during festivals and on special occasions.
The Sagan ceremony is the ritualized presentation of five food items (boiled egg, smoked fish, meat, lentil cake and rice wine) to a person which is done to bring good fortune as per Tantric tradition.
Architecture and archeology
Nepal Sampada Sangha (Nepal Heritage Society) has compiled an inventory of 1,262 significant architectural and archeological sites in Nepal outside Kathmandu Valley.
Kabbadi and Dandi Biyo are national games of Nepal. But now people love cricket, basketball and football as well in Nepal. For more information, read Sports in Nepal
Nepal has been a member of the International Federation of Basketball (FIBA) since 2000 and is FIBA Asia's youngest member. Yet, its national team has already established itself as a regional presence as it won two bronze medals at the SABA Championship.
Procession of Nepali Pahadi Hindu Wedding;
Procession of Nepali Hindu Wedding;
Nepali Pahadi Hindu marriage at Narayan gadh, Chitawan
marriage is very important part of the life. in nepal most of the youth or people doing arrange marriage because of its verity of culture and traditional. nepal is the most loveable country all over the world.
Performing arts (such as traditional music, dance and theatre)
The performing arts range from vocal and instrumental music, dance and theatre to pantomime, sung verse and beyond. They include numerous cultural expressions that reflect human creativity and that are also found, to some extent, in many other intangible cultural heritage domains.
Music is perhaps the most universal of the performing arts and is found in every society, most often as an integral part of other performing art forms and other domains of intangible cultural heritage including rituals, festive events or oral traditions. It can be found in the most diverse contexts: sacred or profane, classical or popular, closely connected to work or entertainment. There may also be a political or economic dimension to music: it can recount a community’s history, sing the praises of a powerful person and play a key role in economic transactions. The occasions on which music is performed are just as varied: marriages, funerals, rituals and initiations, festivities, all kinds of entertainment as well as many other social functions.
Dance, though very complex, may be described simply as ordered bodily movements, usually performed to music. Apart form its physical aspect, the rhythmic movements, steps and gestures of dance often express a sentiment or mood or illustrate a specific event or daily act, such as religious dances and those representing hunting, warfare or sexual activity.
Traditional theatre performances usually combine acting, singing, dance and music, dialogue, narration or recitation but may also include puppetry or pantomime. These arts, however, are more than simply ‘performances’ for an audience; they may also play crucial roles in culture and society such as songs sung while carrying out agricultural work or music that is part of a ritual. In a more intimate setting, lullabies are often sung to help a baby sleep.
The instruments, objects, artefacts and spaces associated with cultural expressions and practices are all included in the Convention’s definition of intangible cultural heritage. In the performing arts this includes musical instruments, masks, costumes and other body decorations used in dance, and the scenery and props of theatre. Performing arts are often performed in specific places; when these spaces are closely linked to the performance, they are considered cultural spaces by the Convention.
Many forms of performing arts are under threat today. As cultural practices become standardized, many traditional practices are abandoned. Even in cases where they become more popular, only certain expressions may benefit while others suffer.
Music is perhaps one of the best examples of this, with the recent explosion in the popularity of ‘World Music’. Though it performs an important role in cultural exchange and encourages creativity that enriches the international art scene, the phenomenon can also cause problems. Many diverse forms of music may be homogenized with the goal of delivering a consistent product. In these situations, there is little place for certain musical practices that are vital to the process of performance and tradition in certain communities.
Music, dance and theatre are often key features of cultural promotion intended to attract tourists and regularly feature in the itineraries of tour operators. Although this may bring more visitors and increased revenue to a country or community and offer a window onto its culture, it may also result in the emergence of new ways of presenting the performing arts, which have been altered for the tourist market. While tourism can contribute to reviving traditional performing arts and give a ‘market value’ to intangible cultural heritage, it can also have a distorting effect, as the performances are often reduced to show adapted highlights in order to meet tourist demands. Often, traditional art forms are turned into commodities in the name of entertainment, with the loss of important forms of community expression.In other cases, wider social or environmental factors may have a serious impact on performing art traditions. Deforestation, for example, can deprive a community of wood to make traditional instruments used to perform music.
Many music traditions have been adapted to fit western forms of notation so they may be recorded, or for the purpose of education, but this process can be destructive. Many forms of music use scales with tones and intervals that do not correspond to standard western forms and tonal subtleties may be lost in the process of transcription. As well as music beinghomogenised, changes to traditional instruments to make them more familiar or easier to play for students, such as the addition of frets to stringed instruments, fundamentally alter the instruments themselves.
Safeguarding measures for traditional performing arts should focus mainly on transmission of knowledge and techniques, of playing and making instruments and strengthening the bond between master and apprentice. The subtleties of a song, the movements of a dance and theatrical interpretations should all be reinforced.
Performances may also be researched, recorded, documented, inventoried and archived. There are countless sound recordings in archives all around the world with many dating back over a century. These older recordings are threatened by deterioration and may be permanently lost unless digitized. The process of digitisation allows documents to be properly identified and inventoried.
Cultural media, institutions and industries can also play a crucial role in ensuring the viability of traditional forms of performing arts by developing audiences and raising awareness amongst the general public. Audiences can be informed about the various aspects of a form of expression, allowing it to gain a new and broader popularity, while also promoting connoisseurship which, in turn, encourages interest in local variations of an art form and may result in active participation in the performance itself.
Safeguarding may also involve improvements in training and infrastructure to properly prepare staff and institutions for preserving the full range of performing arts. In Georgia, students are trained in anthropological fieldwork methods as well as how to record polyphonies, allowing them to create the foundations of a national inventory by creating a database.