Major Religions and Festivals in Nepal and their Sociological and Anthropological implication

Major Religions In Nepal

source:www.retreatours.com
source:www.retreatours.com

Religion is a belief which teaches human beings about what to do and what not to do or what is morally correct ,and incorrect right and wrong. If we raise ourself beyond religious orthodoxy and religious fanaticism/passion, religion rightly guides social behavior, etiquette/protocol and activity of an individual. If religion is not used in the service of mankind and looked from hypocritical and agonistic perspectives, it can create tensions and conflicts in the society. Discrimination in the name of religion can be the cause of social instability. So, religion should be developed as a means for social welfare.

Some common features of religions

  • Belief in supernatural and superhuman power or force.
  • Concept of sacredness
  • Method of salvation.
  • Prayer, worship, and meditation.
  • Faith in the unseen force and fate.
  • Belief in the immortality of the soul.
  • Belief on next world and chain of lifecycle

Hinduism

source:questgarden.com
Fig: Pashupatinath Temple (source:questgarden.com)

Hinduism is regarded as the oldest religion of the world. It was developed or came into existence during second millennium BC, somewhere said to be originated before seven thousand years back. The Persians living in the Indian sub-continent used the term ‘Sind’ to refer to the place where they were living, later became 'Hind' then the people residing there were called Hindu.

Different sects in Hinduism

  • Vaishnavism:Vishnu as their god. Believe in the various incarnation of Vishnu.
  • Shaivism:Shiva as their chief god. This sect emphasizes on Jaap, taap, yagnya, yoga practice and purification of the soul.
  • Shaktism: The followers of goddess Durga. They have the tendency of worshiping bases of power like Durga, Kali, Chandi, and Bhagawoti etc to attain power.

Buddhism

Buddhism is considered as the second largest religion in Nepal. The founder of Buddhism, lord Buddha was the prince Siddhartha Gautam of Lumbini Nepal. He was born in 563 BC in a royal family of Shakya Dynasty of Kapilvastu, Lumbini. He searched for truth after his Mahaviniskramana, he visit northern India and many Peripheral zones, met many ascetic saints but also could not get an answer from them and sat in deep meditation. At last, under a tree named Bodhi, he was enlightened.

Different sects of Buddhism

  • Hinayana:The more orthodox or rigid school in which the senior monks remain with the original version of the teaching of Lord Buddha. They don’t encourage change.
  • Mahayana:In this school, the followers become liberal/flexible and adopted some timely changes in the rules and interpreted. The philosophic concept in wider perspective.
  • Bajrayana:Bajrayana is a discipline of Mahayana which believes in shamanism that is mantra and tantra. Bajra is taken as symbol of it. The rituals experts of this thought are called bajrayana.
  • Islam:Islam religion was founded by Paigamber Mohammad, Allah, the god. It was diffused by Hazrat Mohammad the prophet of Allah who was born in 570 AD in Macca, Saudi Arabia. Allah was believed to be the creator of the world . Among all Hazrat Mohammad was the last that possess the unprecedented and unique talent and intellectual capacity. Quran is full of his teachings, prayers, and code of conduct for the Islam followers.

Features of Islam Religion

  • Faith in one god.
  • The dignity of man.
  • Sinlessness at birth
  • Unity of mankind
  • Direct approach to god
  • Concept of life here after

Christianity

Founded by the name of Jesus Christ who got birth in Jerusalem during the end of BC. Christianity was introduced during the era of AD. Jesus Christ as the pursuit and the only god of christian. The pop is the religious leader or headman of the Christian. It is believed to be the youngest religion of the world which was rapidly expanded globally. This is the chief religious faith in Europe and America. Church is known as their religious place for pray, so every Christian are supposed to visit church for pray. Like other religious sake Christians also follow various rituals, feast, and festivals. Among them, Christmas is the chief one, the memory of the birth of their god. At present, it has two special schools of thought the Catholic and The Protestant.

Kirata Dharma

The youngest religion among the religious sects of indigenous ethnic groups that are Rai and Limbu in Nepal. But it is believed that Sunuwar and Dhimal are also from the same distinct. In the history, the Kirata’s people were the followers of Lord Shiva about 20 years back the religion was introduced by Guru Falgunanda, the Kirati saint who was born in 1942, Illam district in the east Nepal. He conducts all the spiritual activity from a Manghim, the sacred place of Kirati people which lies in a village of Illam. Every two year Kirati people visit this place to attend Udhauli-Uvauli Parvas and listen to their dharma Guru.

Major Festivals of Nepal

Sociological significance of Dashain festival

  • This festival deepens the family unity.
  • This festival helps to continue the socio-cultural and religious tradition.
  • This festival strengthens the relationship between human beings and divine power.
  • This festival increases the relationship, courtesy, and love between the family members and relatives who are far away from home.
  • This festival encourages people to do social works.
  • This festival shows the nature-culture relationship.
  • This festival strengthens religious harmony among people.

Sociological significance of Tihar festival

  • It deepens the family unity.
  • It continuous the socio-cultural traditions
  • This festival strengthens the relationship between human beings and animals.
  • This festival increases the relationship, courtesy, and love between sisters and brothers who are far away from home.
  • This festival encourages people to do social works.
  • This festival shows the nature-culture relationship.

Sociological significance of Lhosar festival

  • Social integration among people
  • Nature-culture relationship
  • Continuity of traditions
  • Social relationship among the family members and community members

Sociological significance of Chhat festival

  • Social integration among people
  • Nature-culture relationship
  • Continuity of tradition
  • Social relationship among the family members and community members
  • Pray to sun god, the divine force and wish to achieve success

Reference:

Kharel, Durga, Elementary Sociology and Anthropology-XII

Sharma, Kamal Raj, Introduction to Sociology and anthropology in Nepal-XII, Sunrise Prakasan Pvt., Ltd., Kathmandu

Pokharel, Ishwor, Sociology-XII, Ekta Books and Distributors, Kathmandu

  1. Religion means the belief in the existence of the supernatural ruling power.
  2. Hinduism is regarded as the oldest religion of the world.
  3. Buddhism is the second largest religion in Nepal which was found by Lord Buddha.
  4. Quran is full of the teachings, prayers, and code of conducts for the Islam followers.
  5. According to the religious text of Kirata, the followers are not supposed to drink alcohol, eat meat or smoke.
  6. All festivals show nature-culture relationship and strengthen  religious harmony among the people.
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