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Nepal is a place of different religions, different races, and different castes. It has a rich cultural history because of Nepal’s vast diversity which has reflected our unique culture. Many of ethnic groups have their own dramatic cultures and languages. The population has a variety of ethnic groups each with a different identity. It has good religious tolerance among the people. However, the people who follow Hindu religion are in great number. Besides this, Buddhism is another popular religion of Nepal. All these caste groups are unique in themselves with their distinct cultural rites, rituals, songs, dances, customs and cuisines. According to census 2011, the total number ofcaste/ethnic (CE) groups to be 125 and most of the CE groups are spread throughout the 75 districts of the country. There is no district in Nepal with a single CE group.
Some of the social customs are as follows:
Brahmins and Chhetris
Brahmins and Chhetris are the major caste groups of Nepal. According to the Census report 2011, the population size of chhetris is 4,398,053 which is (16.59%) and Brahmins 3,226,903 which is (12.18%). Most of the Brahmins and Chhetris are Hindus. Brahmins and Chhetris live in villages, hamlets, and isolated homesteads. The walls of their small houses are constructed from stone or mud brick, painted red ocher around the base, whitewashed above, and topped with a thatched roof. Most of the marriage is arranged by the parents. But, love marriage is also becoming popular nowadays. Brahmins also act as family priests, and Chhetris serve in both the Nepalese army and the Gorkha (Gurkha) brigades of the British and Indian armies. After giving birth, name giving ceremony is performed on the 11th day. Death rites are common as of other Hindus. The deceased is mourned for 13 days.
Newar is a dominant ethnic group of Nepal. Newar of total size 1,321,933forms4.99% of the total population, according to the census 2011. Newars are rich in culture and religion. The best example for that are the numerous jatras, pujas and social ceremonies they manage to conduct even in today’s fast life. Newars are of two origins; Buddhists and Hindus. Newars are found scattered in the various parts of Nepal even though they were originally from the Kathmandu Valley. Naming Ceremony takes place on 4th and 11th day of the baby’s birth. “Belbibaha” is performed before the marriage of a girl. Both arranged and love marriages are performed in this community. Dashain, Tihar, Gaijatra, Indrajatra, and Mhapuja are very significant festivals for Newars.
Magars are third major caste group in Nepal. Magar occupies 1,887, 733 which is 7.13% of the total population of Nepal. Naming Ceremony is performed in 11th and 15th day of birth of a baby.
Jari Bibaha and Cross-cousin marriage are common in their caste system. They give more priority in marrying a boy with his maternal uncle’s daughter. They celebrate Dashain and Tihar. Maghe Sakranti, Naag puja, and Kaura Naach are also famous festivals of them.
Gurung is one of the major indigenous ethnic groups of Nepal. Gurung people live in the western part of Nepal. Mainly Gurung people live in Kaski, Lamjung, Gorkha, Mustang, Tanahun, Dolpa districts. However, they live in each and every part of Nepal, more or less from west to east and Himal to Terai. They follow Buddha religion. Lhochhar is the main festival of Gurung. Dasain and Tihar are also the main festivals of them. They also celebrate Chaite Dasain, Saune Sakranti etc. “Rhodi” culture is most famous in Gurung.
The main occupation is still agriculture. Gurung cast is also very famous for Gurkha Soldier and Indian Soldier. The naming ceremony of a boy is performed on the 7th day, whereas, for a daughter, it is observed on the 9th day. Both arranged and love marriages are popular. Funeral rites last for 10 to 13 days.
According to census 2011, Rai community covers 620,004 (2.3%) of the total population of Nepal. They follow Kirat religion which is based on the worship of nature. The traditional homeland of the Rai extends across Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Bhojpur and Udayapur districts. Kirat Rais speak more than 32 different languages. Wine and pork are essential materials used during religious and social ceremonies. The performance of Sakela puja is led by the Nakchong (the Rai priest) or by the head of an important family in his absence. During Sakewa puja instruments such as dhol (or dhela),jyamta, bow and arrow, chindo, yak tail,cock, and hen are used. Deceased ones are buried. Funeral procession is accompanied by the sounds of firing guns. The marriages are held by arrangements, captures, and elopements.
In Nepal, limbus live and work in the districts of Sankhuwasabha, Terathum, Dhankuta, Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari. They get their priests; ‘Fedangma’ ‘Shamba’ and ‘Mangwa’ to perform various religious and social rites. Out of the total population, 387,300 (1.4%) are limbus in Nepal. The naming ceremony for the son and daughter is performed on the third and the fourth day of the birth respectively.
In Limbu culture, when a person dies, s/he is given the shower, put on new clothes, and put into the coffin (made of wood or bamboo) with flowers. Coins are kept on the forehead, chest, and abdomen of the dead. They also worship mountains and Saptakoshi with much devotion. Important festivals of Limbus are Undhauli and Unbhauli. They perform Dhan naach and Chyabhrung naach with great joy.
Sherpas occupy 6,087,132 (16.2%) of the total population, according to the census 2011. They live in the Himalayan religion. Sherpas can be found throughout Nepal, even in Terai. The Sherpas are Buddhists. They visit monasteries frequently. The major festivals of the Sherpas are Lhosar, Dumje and Mani Rimdu which falls towards the end of February. Dumje is the festival celebrated for the prosperity, good health, and general welfare of the Sherpa Community. The naming Ceremony is observed from 5th to 11th day of the birth. Arranged, chori, jari and love marriages are prevalent in this community. Deceased bodies are buried. Annual anniversary ceremonies for the peace of the dead ones are performed.
Tharus occupy 1, 737,470 (6.56%) of the total population. They are the inhabitant of western Terai. Most of the Tharus have mongoloid features with semi-dark colors. Naming Ceremony takes place in the 6th and 9th day of the baby’s birth. Arranged, Love and Jari marriage are prevalent in this community. There is a strange custom of keeping men face down and women face up during burial. There is no apparent reason for it. Maaghi is observed as the New Year celebration. Another important festival is Phagu, Jhumara. Gopichan and Jatijatin are famous dances performed by Tharu community.
Tamang community covers 1,539,830 (5.81%) of the total population. Tamang community is the indigenous inhabitant of the Himalayan region of Nepal. They have their own unique culture, tradition, language and religion. The Naming Ceremony is observed on the third day of the birth. Arranged, love and chori marriage are prevalent in Tamangs. They celebrate Lhosar and Buddha Purnima.
Chhetris and Brahmins perform Hindu rituals and rites.
On the third day of the birth, the name giving ceremony is observed by Tamang Community.
Newar community perform Belbibaha.
Rai community follows kirat religion which is based on the worship of nature. Kirat Rais speak more than 32 different languages. Wine and pork are essential materials used during religious and social ceremonies. The performance of Sakela puja is led by the Nakchong (the Rai priest) or by the head of an important family in his absence.
In Limbu Culture, the Naming Ceremony for the son and daughter is performed on the third and the fourth day of the birth respectively. In Limbu culture, when a person dies, s/he is given a shower, put on new clothes, and put into the coffin (made of wood or bamboo) with flowers. Coins are kept on the forehead, chest, and abdomen of the dead.
There are 125 caste groups in Nepal.
The Tharu community occupies nearly 6.55% of the total population of Nepal.
Newars occupy nearly 4.98% of the total population of Nepal.
Chhetris and Brahmins occupy nearly 16.6% and 12.17% of the total population of Nepal.
According to the census report of 2011 AD, the Magar community occupies 7.12% of the total population of Nepal.
Rai community occupies 2.5% of the total population of Nepal.
Chhetis and Brahmin occupy nearly____and_____of the total population of Nepal.
_______is performed every year for the peace and contentment of the decresed soul.
________community celebrates Loshar and Buddha Purnima.
Mhapuji, Gaijatra, Indrajatra etc are very significant festivals for ______.
Tamu Lhosar is the greatest festival of________.
Unbhauli and Undhauli are celebrated by______communinty.
Limbu community occupies____of the total population of Nepal.
Sherpas occupy nearly____of the total population of Nepal.
Lhosar is the greatest festival celebrated by_____.