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Gap year in Kathmandu


Culture and Customs

Gap year in Kathmandu, Nepal During the major festival period of October/November many cultural events are held with displays of traditional music and dancing celebrating the traditions of the various local communities. The dancers will often be dressed in elaborate costumes and bedecked with jewelry and make up in the colourful tradition of their particular origins.

There are modern cinemas in Kathmandu which show Western Films as well as a plentiful supply of Bollywood from neighbouring India.

The culture and traditions of Nepal have evolved many centuries. The influences of customs and cultural practices from India, Tibet and China can be clearly seen in the Nepalese traditions. However, with time they have been infused with their own traditions.

Hinduism and Buddhism are the two predominant religions of Nepal and their influence is markedly present in Kathmandu. The diversified culture of the city is reflected in its music, dance, art and craft and folklore and folktales.

Folklore, Folktales and most importantly dance have very ancient origins in Nepal. The folk dances reflect the local culture and depict scenes of harvesting of crops, war stories or even marriages. The art and craft take their inspiration from Hinduism and Buddhism. The handicraft industry is a very important cottage industry generating good revenues. Handicrafts from Lalitpur and Bhaktapur are quite popular both among the local population and the tourists.

There are approximately 92 different languages which are spoken in Nepal and most have a presence in the capital. However, Nepali is the official national language and serves as a common language for all the different linguistic communities.

The culture and tradition of Nepal is reflected in the festivals and celebration, art and craft and religion and languages.

Hinduism and Buddhism are well represented in the Kathmandu region and the major festivals celebrated are Dussera in October, Diwali in October/November, Christmas in December and Holi in March.

Dussehra is regarded as the biggest festival and is celebrated by both Hindu as well as non-Hindu. It commemorates the victory of the forces of Good over Evil and is considered an auspicious time to begin new ventures in life. It is marked by elaborate temporary shrines containing life size figures of the goddess of power, Durga, large colourful parades and feasting.

Diwali is the festival of lights and is characterized by garlands and fairy lights everywhere, fireworks and crackers each evening for three days, elaborate temporary shrines (pandals) set up in honour of the Goddess Lakshimi, troupes of girls and boys going round local houses carrolling and again much feasting.

Nepal being a multi-cultural and multi-religious country offers a variety of cuisines. A number of restaurants and cafes can be found in the tourist quarters of Kathmandu. They include American coffee shops and French bistros as well as traditional Chinese, Indian and Tibetan food. Even Japanese, Thai and Mexican food is available in some speciality restaurants.

The traditional Nepali and Newari food is of course readily available. The most frequently found dish throughout Nepal is ‘daal-bhaat’, basically a combination of rice with lentil and curry vegetables. Chapattis, spiced vegetables and sweets like jalebi, laddu and mukdas are popular too.

Though the traditional method of cooking Nepali food is simple, the special spices used give a unique flavor to the dishes. Spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, clitandro and scallions, along with a combination of mustard oil and yak butter for seasoning, give the Nepali dishes their authentic local flavor.

Special drinks and traditional drinks like Tongba are quite popular and they are served along with traditional Nepali and Newari food. These drinks are customarily had with the help of a traditional bamboo straw.

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