Cross-Cultural and Religious Aspects of Nepal

Religions in Nepal

Nepal is a landlocked country. It is a federal democratic republic nation. So, every society has its own belief in caste and religion. This land is rich with its unique culture and religion. 

So what is the religion of Nepal? according to the religion in Nepal data, approximately 80% of Nepalese have a belief in the Hindu religion. About 10% of Nepalese are Buddhist and almost 5% are Muslim. Others are Christian, Kirati, Bon Buddhist, and so on. The different religious people speak different languages, wear different dresses, and even eat different food on the basis of their caste and culture.

Similarly, the Hindus and Buddhist pilgrims worship almost common deities in temples and monasteries, for instance -as Muktinath Temple. Both religions believe in reincarnation, but follow different approaches like Bhagavad Gita by Hinduism and Samsara by Buddhism. The Pashupatinath Temple is the popular Hindu Temple in Nepal whereas Swayambhunath and Bouddhanath Stupas belong to the Buddhist religion. On the other hand, other religious groups share their faith and belief in their own style. Though there are verities of religions, the Nepalese always live in peace and harmony. There is not any record of conflict in the aspect of religion in Nepal yet.

Likewise, there are three different geographical regions in Nepal such as Terai, Hilly, and Mountain. The residents of Terai are commonly known as the Madhesi people. Pahadiya people are those who live in the Hilly region of Nepal. Finally, the Bhote or Lakali is called for those who live in the Mountain zone of Nepal. The Madhesi and Pahadiya are almost full of Bhraman and Chhetri . The Newar and some Mongolian can also be found exceptionally. Especially, the ethnic tribes that live in the Mountainous area of Nepal. Their living style, hospitability, feeding, and so on are incredible. Due to these features of mountain people, the trekkers feel comfortable and enjoy a lot of the views of the Himalayas.

The Nepalese rituals that everyone follows from birth to death like a naming ceremony, rice-feeding ceremony, Gunyo Cholo (a type of girl’s dress) ceremony (for girl only), tonsure ceremony(for boy only), marriage ceremony, and funeral ceremony. But the celebrating style is different depending on their caste and religion. For example- Brahmin and Chhetri people celebrate the naming ceremony after the 11 days of baby birth while ethnic celebrates it after the 9 days of baby birth. Similarly, a baby boy feeds rice after being 6 months whereas a baby girl feeds it when she is of 5 months. The funeral process is also different.

Dashain, Tihar, and Teej are the main festivals of Nepal. But it is celebrated mainly by Brahmin and Chhetri who put on the red tika on the forehead while the ethnic groups use the tika of white color. The Maghe Sakranti is an important festival of the ethnic tribe.

To sum up religions in Nepal can be described as multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic. Though their belief and faith are different, they are Nepalese in a singular form that follows peace and harmony. So, there is ‘unity in diversity in Nepal.