Most of the inhabitants of Nepal are Hindus, but the main religion of the country has absorbed some elements of Buddhism and acquired an extensive pantheon of gods. For example, there is a complex custom revered by almost all Nepalese – the election of a living virgin goddess Kumari. The role of the deity is played by a small resident of the country. According to legend, the title of the goddess of the ancient cult can only go to a black-haired and dark-eyed girl from the Newari Shakaia caste. Applicants for this role must pass the test – sit for some time in a dark room full of monsters, and not be scared. The chosen living goddess is placed in a special house and worshiped. It is believed that all the power of the mountainous region is concentrated in her fragile hands. When she comes of age, another little girl will take her place. By the way, both residents of Nepal and tourists are strictly prohibited from photographing young Kumari – the bodily embodiment of the great goddess Taleju.
The national cuisine of Nepal has absorbed the traditions of cooking food from neighboring countries – India and China. The most common and typical Nepalese dish called Dal is a mixture of cooked rice with curry sauce and boiled lentils. Spicy pickled soy is often served with it. Interestingly, the Nepalese do not eat soups at all. But in almost every cafe in the highland country, you can buy giant steamed dumplings stuffed with aromatic lamb – Mamo. Interestingly, in Nepal it is customary to eat only 2 times a day, at 10:00 and 19:00. If you find yourself at another time in a non-tourist area of the country, then you may have difficulties with purchasing food.
The traditional form of greeting in Nepal is the word “namaste”, meaning “The divine in me welcomes the divine in you,” and is accompanied by a gesture of folded palms in a boat. When meeting with a particularly respected person, it is customary to bring your palms not to your chin, but to your forehead. When addressing local residents by name, add the polite ending “ji” or the universal term “hajur” to it.
The absolute taboos in the mountainous country include the public display of signs of attention between a man and a woman and touching the head of Nepalese children. This part of the body is considered sacred by the locals; only parents and some clergy can touch it.
In September, Nepal hosts Dasain, the country’s main festival, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. At this time, all temples and statues that were closed at normal times open, but almost all restaurants and cafes stop working. During the festive rituals, the central statue of the goddess Kali simply turns purple with blood: the Nepalese sacrifice goats and rams to her. Free buses run to the shrines on Tuesdays and Fridays.