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Culture and Customs in Nepal

Nepal is the meeting place of two different religions - Hinduism and Buddhism, tow races, Caucasoid and Mongoloid and tow civilization Indic and Sinic. The population has a variety of ethnic groups each with its distinct identity. Polygamy is stilled practiced in some area of the country although legislation banned it in the sixties.

When entering rooms in Nepalese home it is polite to remove shoes. While some westernized Nepalese might not be dong it, the best thing is to watch what other are doing. Many Hindu temples do not permit westerners to enter but they are quite free to watch from outside. Always walk clockwise around Buddhist stupas, chortens or mani walls. Every body remove their shoes and any items made from leather such as belts and bags before entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple.

Public displays of affection are not good manners nor should one swim naked in rivers and lakes. In the northern hill area, polyandry, the custom of a wife having more than one husband, was also practiced till recently. On the other hand, the Gurung group has an institution called Rodihgar intended to bring people together before they contemplate marriage. Widow re-marriage was not socially acceptable in some groups. An ethnic group such as Brahmin's were prohibited for drinking alcohol and sometimes follow vegetarian restrains and amongst Brahmin families a man first met his wife on that day he got married. The Sherpa's have remarkably free and easy moral code.

Most of these customs go back to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Among them, the rules of marriage are particularly interesting. In traditional families marriage deals are arranged by parents after the boy or girl come of age. Child marriage and polygamy that were once upheld and accepted with glee are not allowed by the law anymore.