The culture of Nepal is unique. It is rich in music, dance, arts, literature, religion, festivals and food. Temples and monasteries are the foundations of Nepali architecture and dominate the important cultural and historical places.
There are 125 caste / ethnic groups in Nepal and these have developed their own religion, language, and music. Folk music is very popular. When travelling in Nepal it is a delight to see the different traditional clothing, taste the different varieties of traditional food and learn about the different cultures of the various ethnic groups.
The main language spoken in Nepal is Nepali with 45% of people using it as their primary language. There are however 123 different languages spoken in Nepal. Travel-trade people understand and speak English as well.
The most common greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” with both palms pressed together across the chest. Translated it means “The god in me greets the god in you”.
Nepal is a secular state according to the constitution of Nepal with a predominance of Hindu and Buddhist population. According to the 2011 census, 81.3% of the Nepalese population was Hindu, 9.0% was Buddhist, 4.4% was Muslim, 3.0% was Kiratist (indigenous ethnic religion), 1.4% was Christian, 0.2% was Sikhs, 0.1% was Jains and 0.6% follow other religions or no religion. There is also a lot of “fusion” elements of both that is commonly seen in Nepal. In the mountain areas, Buddhism is more predominant while in the cities, mid hills and flatlands Hinduism predominates. Nepalese people are very religious by nature and hold close to their beliefs and culture. There is also a strong belief in spirits, ghosts and Shamanism and Shamans are often consulted for treatment of illnesses.
The biggest festival of the year is Dashain which is held for 15 days in late September or early October. There are many other festivals and celebrations held in Nepal and most months are host to different celebrations.