Cultural: Hinduism and Kathmandu Valley
Nepal is a landlocked country, which is located in South Asia, between China and India. Nepal is rich in natural resources although it is poor in economic condition. It is renowned for the highest Himalayan ranges in the world. Nepal is a place, filled with diversity, pride and other wonderful qualities. In Nepal, all the customs and traditions differ from one part to another. The capital city of Nepal is Kathmandu Valley, which was established in late eighteenth century, has various mixed culture.
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Kathmandu Valley has a moderate temperature with hot summer and dry winter. In ummer, temperature varies from 280C to 380C and winter temperature varies from 190C to 30C. People living in Kathmandu Valley are well educated and are rich in culture and various traditions. There are numerous types of religions in Nepal such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam but the majorities are either Hinduism or Buddhism. The residents of Kathmandu Valley are mostly Newars and the Newari culture blends both Hinduism and Buddhism.
I have come far away from home to United States for my further education and now I have a chance to experience a different type of culture and tradition but the beauty and traditional culture of my ometown will always be in my memories. I belong to a Newari community and my language is Newar (which is also my native language). Although there are people from different communities in Nepal, that sense of brotherhood and warm reception for strangers is always seen especially in our traditions. We celebrate many festivals that help explain our traditions, which I think are clear and understandable.
There are several festivals that are celebrated every year. Some of them are Dashain, Tihar, Yomari Punhi, lhi, Rishi Panchami, Nag Panchami Gathe Mangal and many more. The wo Newari cultures that are presented in this essay are Yomari Punhi and Ihi. Yomari Punhi is one the most popular festival in Newar community. It is celebrated annually during the month of December during full moon day. Yomari is a steamed sweet-dish, made out of rice flour dough filled with brown cane sugar and sesame seeds and Punhi refers to full moon.
On this day Newars worship Annapurna (Goddess of Grain) for rice harvest. It believed that eating yomari cures cold and it is also said that the longer the tail of Yomari the shorter the winter will be. In Newar culture, normally girls get married three times. The first marriage is called lhi (in Newari) or Bel Bibaha (in Nepal’). The second one is to get married to the sun, which is called Bara Tayegu (in Newari) or Gufa rakhne (in Nepali) or Sun Marriage. Finally, the third marriage is the actual marriage similar to other marriages.
It can be an arranged marriage, love marriage or both. lhi also known as Bel Bibaha or Bel Marriage, is a ceremony in Newari society, where pre-adolescent girls are married to the Lord Vishnu and Bel fruit (wood apple) is given as a witness. The Bel fruit will never get rotten. This ceremony is performed to ensure that the girl becomes and emains fertile and she is safe from evil and malicious spirit. And later in her life after she is married, if her husband dies, she is not called a widow because she was already married to God Vishnu, so she still has a husband.
I have come seven main culture of my country and why we have been celebrating all the festivals. Here in SMSU there are many Nepalese students so I kind of feel like there is a cultural bond between us. Even if we are several thousand miles away from home, we will be celebrating most of the major festivals if not all. More than thousands years have assed but we Newars, have been celebrating these festival without any ignorance, changes. This shows a symbol of our cultural identity.
One main way to keep our identity, it is very important that we know how to speak our native language and know the cultural history. My parents taught me how to speak Newari when I was a child. Nowadays in Nepal, there are many families, who dont teach their children their native language. I was fortunate enough because my family taught me everything about my culture and we still celebrate each festival every year. And this is how I am going pass it to my future generation.