Hindu castes are an important element of the Nepalese community, although there are some gaps in this system.
Bahuns differently Brahmins, are sitting on top of this mountain. They can be government employees, landowners or farmers.
As the next, there are Chhetri who usually serve as soldiers.
The homeland of both ethnic groups are the hills of western Nepal, but – like many others – they are spread all over the country.
The intermediate castes are Newari, Tamang, Gurung and Magar.
Below there are castes of people employed in ‘dirty’ professions: Damai, who are tailors, Kami who work in blacksmithing, Sunar – goldsmiths and Pode – sweapers.
Numerous Newars living in the Kathmandu Valley, unlike the majority of other castes, are widely professionally trained. You can meet artists, traders and farmers among them. Traditionally, they are Buddhists, although since the fifteenth century they have been strongly influenced by Hindu culture. Nowadays, many of them go to Hinduism, but the pantheon of Newari ideals includes both Hindu and Buddhist traditions as well as ancient animist beliefs.
Tamangs inhabiting the surrounding hills around the Kathmandu Valley are involved in trading, handicraft and agriculture. However, they are relatively poor. The Tamangs predominantly adhere to Buddhism with strong influences from the Bon tradition.
The Gurungs who inhabited the north hills have traditionally led a nomadic lifestyle, mainly engaged in pastoralism and agriculture.
Magars quite similar to Gurung in facial features, and sometimes in cultural rites reside in the same region. Together with the Gurungi, they were always the main force of the Gurkh troops.
Rai and Limbu
Rai and Limbu caste qualify as independent groups that do not fit into the Nepali caste system and live mainly in the region of eastern Nepal. They can be easily distinguished by high cheekbones. They profess kiranti – a mixture that combines traditional animistic beliefs, Hinduism and Buddhism.
Inhabitants of the Manang Valley known as tourist destination are known as excellent traders and smugglers.
Mostly inhabitants of Solu-Khumbu are often tourist guides in the field of high-mountain expeditions.
Both, Sherpa and Manang, groups are colloquially called Bhotiya. Along with other Tibetan ethnic groups, they live in the high parts of the Himalayas creating a caste-less society.
Of course, every village also has residents of other casts – they are engaged in crafts that others will not touch.
The dominant religion in Nepal is Hinduism, but it is difficult to meet people professing Hinduism in a pure form. Most often, a combination of selected canon characters of Buddhist tantric forms, Hindu forms and local deities of traditional shaman beliefs.
Religious activities are a daily ritual made in the early morning, and also in the evening at sunset, in every house and store. The elements of the ritual are lights of lamps that sweep the space of the house, incense, bell ringing, recitation of the mantra, as well as flowers, dry rice and water.
Regardless of the religion and vision of the world given by the ancestors, many clans of individual castes decide to convert to Hinduism. There is a conviction in this society that the followers of Siva are higher in the social hierarchy, so it is a way for many to raise their status.
Communication and language
Only after taking into account ethnic differences existing in Nepal and the caste system, one can speak about the Nepalese community. The official language is Nepalese and it is known to almost all inhabitants of the country, except maybe distant clans high in the mountains. Today, almost every village has access to education and programs to allow children to go to school. If we want to communicate with someone, the best translators are usually school-age children – the teaching includes both Nepali and English.
On the street
However, by meeting, especially in large cities or places attractive for tourists, children employed professionally as minor beggars,you need to be aware that they are an element of big business. Money collected by these children are, in effect, huge amounts of cash wandering to someone’s pocket. Seeing a dirty toddler carrying on a hip, an even smaller child, seems to us that we support someone’s family, where mother is doing the laundry or is just bearing another brother … nothing more wrong. Begging is very profitable, taking part in it, we support this business, giving the child only a substitute for success and such a lifelong learning.
In addition to begging children, holy men called sadhu can be met, most often in orange robes, or gaines means Nepalese bards, nomadic musicians. Sadhu are part of the local folklore and without them it would not be Asia.
Purchase and negotiation
Of course, there are also street sellers of various types of goods. You can buy from them rugs, bedding, metal utensils, plastic, vegetables or fruits. As tourists, however, we will most often meet sellers of postcards, jewelry, handicrafts or other similarly necessary tourist items. Especially in the latter case, it is better to know what you want and whether you want something at all, because such a seller will not leave you for a long amount of time, if only he notices a shadow of indecision or interest. It should also be remembered that negotiations are in the order of the day; the first is the price from which you should go down.
Nepalese as a society are very social people – good relations with the environment are maintained at all costs and they always avoid direct conflict. Hence also misunderstandings – when we ask something, in response, we hear ‘yes’, often because the question has not been understood.
One must also know that the South Asian understanding of time is very relative. In Nepali, the word ‘tomorrow’ – ‘bholi’ may well mean ‘sometime later’. When setting deadlines, keep this in mind and understand that the calmness with which they approach their duties is the way of life adopted here. A good method is frequent visits to the contractor’s workshop if we have urgent assignments.
Eating meals with Hindus it is good to know that the started portion is already impure and can not be passed on to the other person. The same applies to water – you can see that throughout Asia water is drunk without touching the mouth with a cup or bottle. Empty glasses and dishes, uneaten portions, they put on the floor, away from the food being prepared. Asians often do not use cutlery to eat. They eat with the right hand stirring rice and sauce with their fingers. The left hand is considered to be ‘unclean’ as it is used to wash after a toilet. Of course, the Nepalese will forgive us when they see our faux pas and many mistaces we will not notice that we have committed them. Children, however, will not let it go as easily: just like in the whole world – and here children are curious and watch closely the surroundings and want to know how the world is built … Do not be surprised if you hear a question about your non-standard behavior.
It is also worth mentioning Nepalese non-verbal communication – shaking your head which we could understand as ‘no’, here usually means agreement and confirmation. If you want to point the object at a certain distance, use the chin, never your finger.
It would be a pity not to understand the invitation to the Nepalese home – the characteristic movement of the chin does not mean ‘go’but ‘come’.
Brahmins – morning rytual