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Traveling to Nepal Himalaya? Know 13 points of Nepali ethics and etiquettes.

Nepal, a tiny Himalayan country sandwiched between the two giants neighbors-India and China has diverse culture, religion and practices. Majority of the population (80. 6% as per the census in 2001) are Hindus by birth and remaining are Buddhist, Muslims and Christians. Nepali people are friendly, hospitable, warm and welcoming and having knowledge of their culture, practices and etiquettes will make your stay in Nepal very much enjoyable. Here are the 13 points of Nepali ethics and etiquettes that might help you get along Nepali people.

  • The common form of greeting in Nepal is ‘namaste’ performed by joining palms together in front of the chest. Namaste is also said when you are departing. Namaste, derived from Sanskrit,means “I bow to you”. In Nepali society, when people meet each other, usually the younger ones are to initiate the greeting. Hand shaking is also common among men but when you meet an opposite sex, you don’t hand shake but join palms in front of chest and greet “Namaste”. The correct way of saying “namaste” also requires you little bowing, but we rarely see people doing that.
  • Nepali people don’t hug or kiss in the public. Public displays of affection between man and woman are scandalous. But it’s common to see the same sex holding hands or embracing in the street, although they are not homosexual.
  • When we are entering someone’s home, temple or monastery, we usually take off our shoes as a mark of respect.
  • We don’t ask other people to taste the food from our plate or offer the left over. Food or drink once touched by mouth is called “Zootho” which means “impure” or “contaminated” and so it’s a disrespect to offer contaminated food.
  • When we are dinning at friends or relatives, its impolite to leave the food in the plate.
  • Touching something with feet or using left hand to give or take is considered a disrespect. When we sit on the floor, we sit cross-legged and avoid extending the foot to the others.
  • Women wearing skimpy outfits are frowned upon especially in the rural parts of the country.
  • As a part of the tradition some Hindu temples do not allow non Hindus to enter and leather articles are prohibited inside temple precinct.
  • Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
  • Do not take photos without permission or take a long zoom snapshot!!
  • Unlike westerners, Nepalis nod head slightly dangling from left to right to say “Yes” and shake head to say “No”.
  • Although gifts or presents are very much appreciated, they act shy to open the packaged gift in front of the guests.
  • Nepali people are very respectful to each other. They avoid people calling by name and if they do, they add “zee” after the name. Eg. Ravi will be called Ravi zee. If you meet someone who may be as old as your parents, you call “boowa” (father) or Aama or moowa(mother), Kakaa (Uncle), Dazoo (elder brother), Didee (Elder sister), Bhai (Younger brother), Bahinee (Younger sister)! Your friend’s wife will be called Bhaujoo or you can call Didee (Elder sister) or Bahini (Younger Sister) as you feel appropriate with regards to the age.


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