Culture of Nepal

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An insight to the colourful places in Nepal
A painting of Nepalese woman (1905)

Nepal has a unique culture. Its cultural heritage has developed over several thousands of years. It covers Nepal's many ethnic, tribal and social classes.

There are at least 92 living languages spoken in Nepal, though some studies list 123. Nepal's languages come from three major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman and indigenous. The official national language of Nepal is Nepali, written in Devanagari script. It is the first language of about half the country's population, and is used by people of most ethnic groups to communicate with each other.

Both Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal date back more than 2000 years. The 2001 census recorded that 80.6% of the population was Hindu. Buddhism was practiced by about 11% of the population, although many people often practice their own mix of Hindu, Buddhist, and/or animist traditions. About 3.2% practice Islam. Another 3.6% of the population follows the native Kirant religion. Christianity is practiced officially by less than 0.5%.

Nepalese people have several festivals that they celebrate each year. The longest and the most important of these is Dashain. It is celebrated for 15 days, and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga. Most festivals include dancing and music, as well as all kinds of local food.

Some Nepalese dances include:

  • Charya: popular among the Buddhist community
  • Kartik: started by King Siddhi Nasingh Malla in Kathmandu valley
  • Ghatu: popular among the Gurung and Magar communities at Gandaki Zone

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