Geography of Nepal
Nepal is a tiny landlocked country in South Asia sandwiched between Tibet and India. It has got 147,516 km² areas with a variety of landscapes- the Himalayan region, hilly region, and the plain land region known as the Terai region. The Himalayan part is bordered by the giant snowy peaks, including Mount Everest, Makalu, Langtang, and others. The hilly region is dotted by the woods, flora, and rich in fauna. There are national parks, conservation areas, and community forests. The Lakes, White Water River, and streams. The terrain region is also known as the grain store of Nepal. It has got cultivating lands and tropical forests. The highest point (Mount Everest 8848.86 meters) and the lowest point (Kechanakelan-Jhapa 85 meters) has got less than 100 km.
Weather and Climate
Being a tiny country, Nepal has got climatic and weather variations. The Himalayan region remains cold and remains snowy in winter. It's cool in the hilly region and warm (hot) in the Terai region. It has got four seasons- spring, autumn, summer, and winter. It rains a lot from June, July to August. September to December is also the festival season, which is amazing with weather and cultural prosperity. In spring, the flowers blossoms around the country, including the wild rhododendron.
People and Custom
People in Nepal are hospitable and warm welcoming. There are people from different religious and social backgrounds, including Brahmins, Chhetriyas, and other ethnic groups. More than 125 ethnic groups are found in Nepal with 120 spoken languages. They do have their own languages, customs, and cultural practices.
Festivals are directly connected with Nepali people. More than 80% of people belong to the Hindu community. However, there is a mutual relationship between the people of different religious groups, cultural groups, and political beliefs.
- Daura Suruwal and Fariya Choli are typical dresses.
- They eat Dal Bhat (rice, lentil, curry) twice a day.
- Nepali people often use their right hand to eat.
- Namastey is the official greeting for all at any time. They don't hug or kiss at the meeting.
- Guests are taken as a form of Gods and goddesses.
- You are not allowed to wear shoes while entering into the temple.
Festivals of Nepal
One of the most amazing aspects of Nepali society is the abundant number of colorful festivals that are celebrated across Nepal. They are widely celebrated in different times and seasons. Mainly, the festivals are celebrated to mark the victory of Gods and Goddess against demons. Some festivals are celebrated by women; some belong to the ethnic and indigenous groups and some with religious significance. As this tiny country has more than 125 ethnic groups, they do have variations in the festivals and celebrations they organize. Some of them include Gurung, Magar, Rai, Sherpa, Brahmin, and others. We are going to mention the festivals in Nepal in brief.
Dashain is the greatest festival in Nepal, which is celebrated for 15 days. However, the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th days are most important as a part of the celebration. People worship various Gods and goddesses, put on tika and jamara, visit relatives and elders to have blessings, and so on. People also sacrifice goats on the 8th day of the festival.
For Hindu people, Tihar aka Deepawali is another significant festival. In fact, it's a festival of colors and lights. It is celebrated for five days, worshipping various birds and animals that helped people throughout the year, first day- worshipping crow, second day- dog, third day- Laxmi and brothers on the 5th day. In the Tihar festival, people worship Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, and on the fifth day, brothers and sister's meet, share Tika and garlands, and exchange gifts.
Teej is celebrated by Hindu women. It is mainly celebrated for three days by both married and unmarried women. Fasting is a significant part of the festival. Married women visit their parents and enjoy eating Dar (amazing meal) as preparation for fasting. The next day, they organize a dance program, gathering friends, and on the third day; they worship Lord Shiva, participate in Puja and take a holy bath. They also dance and enjoy themselves on the third day.
Festival of multiple colors, Holi is outstandingly celebrated throughout the country- Nepal along with India. This festival is celebrated for two days- the first day in the hilly region and the second day in the Terai region, which is close to the Indian borders. Holi is known as Falgupurnima, which is celebrated symbolically that marks the victory of good over evil. It has got mythology connected to Holika, who had been honored of not being hurt by the flame. People gather in a park or some renowned places and throw different colors at each other; children throw balloons filled with water. In Kathmandu, people gather in Chowks. Tourists enjoy holi around Thamel, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Ason, and the surroundings.
- BUDDHA JYANTI
Buddha Jayanti is a festival celebrated to mark the birthday of Lord Buddha. So, it is very special to the Buddhist devotees, and celebrations are organized in the monasteries, Stupas, and in Lumbini. It is equally popular among Hindu devotees. Buddhist people visit Stupas and monasteries to pay their homage and a very special celebration takes place in Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
Shivaratri is one of the greatest celebrations of the Hindu devotees, related to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is celebrated in the Shiva temples and other holy sites, worshipping and enjoying. Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu becomes a central attraction on this day, where more than a million people visit and pay their homage. Thousands of Sadhus come from India, including naked (Naga) Baba. They will be provided free food and a place to stay at the premises of this temple. People also smoke marijuana claiming it to be a part of the festival.
- MAGHE SANKRANTI
Maghe Sankranti is a festival celebrated in the month of Magh (the mid of January). It is a Hindu celebration, which is spectacular for the Magar ethnic community, Brahmins and Chhetriyas, and Tharu people in the Terai region. On Maghe Sakranti, married women visit their parents and celebrate there with different food items. Even the parents prepare nice meals for them. Magar ethnic communities take Maghe Sakranti as their prime celebration. They gather in a park, sing, dance, and eat many food items. Tharu people celebrate Maghi just like Magar ethnic groups and they prepare their traditional meals.
- INDRA JATRA
As the Newari people of Kathmandu valley celebrate different festivals, Indra Jatra is one of them. On this day, the excited people gather in many places in Kathmandu and celebrate. It begins from Kathmandu Durbar Square and three different chariots are pulled around the city. It is to worship Lord Indra thanking for enough rain. Newari people conclude this Jatra with a feast.
- GAI JATRA
Gai Jatra is famous among the Newari people. On this day, all the people whose family members have passed away in that year will march parade on the street. People disguise in different forms and they gather in Kathmandu Durbar Square. The traditional form is taking a cow if possible. King Pratap Malla began this day to make his queen normal as she was in a high depression after she lost her son.
- CHHATH PUJA
Chhath puja is celebrated mainly in the terai region of Nepal, worshipping the setting sun. Women gather around the Riverside, stream or Lake, stay fasting, and worship in the night. It is to celebrate the miraculous life given by the sun from which human life is possible.
Lhosar is celebrated mainly by the Tamang, Gurung, and Sherpa people. They do have different dates, based on their lunar calendar. It is marking their new year. Gurung people celebrate Tamu Lhosar, Tamang people celebrate Sonam Lhosar and Sherpa people celebrate Gyampo Lhosar. They celebrate with a cultural parade, preparing different food items, singing, and dancing.