The rich culture heritage of the federal democratic republic of nepal, has evolved over centuries. This multi-dimensional cultural heritage encompasses within itself the cultural diversities of various ethnic, tribal, and social groups inhabiting different altitudes, and it manifests in various forms: music and dance; art and craft; folklores and folktales; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebrations; and foods and drinks.Many people in Nepal use woman as a sign of looky pretty.
The earliest known history of Newar and Kathmandu valley were recorded in the form of mythical scriptures. One of such texts which even accounts the creation of the valley is Swayambhu Purana. According to the Swayambhu Purana, the Kathmandu valley was a giant lake called Nāgdaha until the Bodhisattva Manjusri, with the aid of a holy sword called Chandrahrāsa, cut open a part of southern hill of Kachchhapāla and then cut open Gokarnadaha and drained the giant lake, allowing humans to settle the valley land. This apocryphal legend is supported by some geological evidence of an ancient lakebed and it provides an explanation for the high fertility of Kathmandu valley soil.
According to the Swayambhu Purana, Manjusri then established a city called Manjupattan (Sanskrit "Land Established by Manjusri"), now called Manjipā, where he crowned Dharmākara as the king of the land. A shrine dedicated to Manjusri is still present in Majipā.
No recorded historical document has been found after this era till the advent of Gopal era. A genealogy of emperors is recorded in a book called Gopal Raj Banshawali. According to this manuscript, Gopals were followed by Mahispals, and Kirats before Licchavis entered from south. Some claim Buddha to have visited Nepal during the reign of Kirat emperor Jitedasti.
The Newa (Nepal Bhasa: नेवाः Newā(h), Classical Nepal Bhasa: नेवार Newār or नेवाल Newāl) are the indigenous people of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. Newars are a linguistic community with Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan ethnicity, bound together by a common language.
The term Newar applies roughly to the descendants of citizens of Medieval Nepal (consisting of Kathmandu Valley as the capital and the territory ever changing with farthest extent being Gandaki river to west and Koshi river to the east, Tibet to north and Terai in south). Their common language being Nepal Bhasa ("Newari" according to Statistics Nepal) or the languages progenitor of Nepal Bhasa. Many Newar communities within Nepal also speak their own dialects of Newari, such as the Dolakha Newar Language. According to Nepal's 2001 census, the 1,245,232 Newar in the country are the nation's sixth largest ethnic group, representing 5.48% of the population . Nepal Bhasa is of Tibeto-Burman origin (but heavily influenced by Indo-Aryan languages like Sanskrit, Pali, Bengali and Maithili). Nepal Bhasa also contains Austro-Asiatic words and phrases. In 2001 the language is spoken by 825,458 Nepalese as their mother tongue.
In newar society their is a unique type of foods. Mustard oil and a host of spices, such as cumin, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi, bayleaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chili, mustard seeds, vinegar, etc. are used in cooking. The cuisine served in the festivals is considered as the best diet cuisine. The grilled meat(preferably water Buffalow meat) over the flames of dried wheat plants makes a delicious and spicy typical newari food called choila. In various occasions people from this tribe cook varieties of food depending on the climate and occasions. Newars use baji(beaten rice) in various occasions. A typical Newari serving consists of the beaten rice, choila, kawati (soup of different beans), kachila (semi-cooked spiced minced meat) spinach, wa:(a kind of bread made of different kinds of lentils), pau kawa (sour soups) and typically two kinds of liquor. Thwon and aila are the common liquors that Newar make at home.
The newari Tradition and Culture is alsmost like ocean. Newari Culture is very rich in pagneantry. Many festivals are tied to Hindu holidays, Buddha's birth and the harvest cycle. The important Newari festivals are "Mha Puja" , celebrated in the occasion of the New year, during the festival of Tihar as per local calendar (Nepal Sambat), Bisket Jatra celebrated on the first of Baisakh and many more.One of the important festival celebrated by Newari people is Gunhu Punhi. During this nine-day festival, Newari men and women drink a bowl of sprouted mixed cereals and offer food to frogs in the farmers' fields. On the second day, Gai Jatra, people who have lost a family member in the past year dress up as cows or anything comical and parade through town, a ritual carried by a king to show his queen, who was hurted by loss of her own child that not only his son has died but other peoples died too. The last day of Gunhu Punhi is Krishnastami, birthday of lord Krishna, an incarnation of lord Vishnu.
Indra Jatra is a holiday related to Hindu god king of heaven, Indra. The festival begins with the carnival-like erection of Yosin, a ceremonial pole, accompanied by the rare display of the deity Aakash Bhairab, represented by a massive mask spouting beer and liquor. Households throughout Kathmandu display images and sculptures of Indra and Bhairab only at this time of year. Finally, the Kumari, or virgin goddess (living goddess), leaves the seclusion of her temple in a palanquin and leads a procession through the streets of Kathmandu to thank Indra the rain god. And there is an occasion in Tihar where people worship themselves know as Mha Puja (self-worship) in which people eat good food and wear good clothes, this day is also the newari new year or Nepal Sambhat in which a rally takes place where people go around town in motorcycles, busses and huge celebration. It is another emerging rituals that even young people take it deep.
Many rituals are related to the stages of life stages from birth, first rice-feeding, childhood, puberty, marriage, seniority and death. The complexity and all-encompassing nature of these rituals cannot be exaggerated. For instance, Newari girls undergo a Bahra ceremony when they reach menarche. Because menstruation is considered ritually impure, girls undergo ritual confinement for 12 days. Girls are separated from all males and from sunlight for 12 days while they are doted upon by female relatives. On 12th day the girl must pay homage to the sun.
Should a Newar man or women live long enough, there are five rituals, known as "janku,"—which can be confusing, as the first rice feeding ceremony is referred to as "janku" as well—performed between the age of 77 and 106. These at the age 77 years, 7 months, 7 days; 83 years, 4 months, 4 days (after one has seen 1000 full moons in one's life); 88 years, 8 months, 8 days; 99 years, 9 months, 9 days; and, finally, at 105 years, 8 months, 8 days. After these rituals are performed, the person will be regarded as a god. Husband and wife will perform their rituals together, as the events occur for the husband.
Classicfication of newa dance
The Newar dances can be classified as
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Newa architecture is an indigenous style of architecture used by the Newari people in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal. It is a style used in buildings ranging from stupas and chaitya monastery buildings to courtyard structures and distinctive houses. The style is marked by striking brick work and a unique style of wood carving rarely seen outside of Nepal. The style has been exported by Nepalese architects including Arniko.
The Newar caste system is the system of subdivision of Newars on the basis of designated occupation.
The Newar system varies from the ideal typical South Asian religious model in various aspects. Firstly, the buddhist priestly class has also been 'castified'. This has resulted in what has been called a 'double-headed' caste-system: the Hindu brahmins and the Buddhist bajracharyas at the top, each claiming a stature equal to that of the other in the hierarchy. Following them is the Newar nobility and vaishyas. The shudra grouping is the most differentiated with specialized castes for metiers needed in the daily lives and cultural/ritual needs of the Newars.
Another prominent feature of the system is the existence of caste blocks in the hierarchy. While the hierarchy of the blocks may not be disputed, the individual positions of the castes within each block is also disputed by the castes themselves. Since separate caste systems were in practice in the different Newar city states (and their provinces), some researchers look at the Newars as having several castes systems, instead of just one over-arching model.
The Newar caste system may be called kshetriya-centric because the entire system exists around the personage of the king. The brahmins are higher in caste status to the king not because they are more powerful but because of their superior ritual status. The brahmins are like all other specialized service providers, their only difference being, they are considered higher to others in ritual purity.
Unlike those extant in the rest of South Asia today, due to obvious political reasons, the Newar system still has the king featuring prominently in his ritual obligations in the various festivals and functions throughout the annual religious calendar. He still mediates between the gods and his subjects; in this respect, as the representative of divinity, he is considered divinity itself. In the context of the ongoing political process for ending the role of the monarch as the head of state of (the Gorkhali dominion of) Nepal, it will be interesting to see how the Newar politico-religious system adapts if/when such an attempted abolition does succeed.
Subdivisions within Newar society are at the same time unique and involved. One’s religion is either Hindu or Buddhist or even both; and furthermore, one belongs to a particular subgroup which is ranked in order by the rules of the caste hierarchy.
Scholars believe that the Newars were predominantly Buddhist in the early period. Later, Brahman immigrants form India brought Hinduism with them. From the thirteenth century onwards political power came into the hands of the Malla Kings, high caste Hindus, concurrently with the gradual degeneration of Buddhism, which in time incorporated the rigid caste formula. However, the two religious groups have never antagonized each other to any obvious extent; only mutual integration has taken place.
The Gubhajus are traditionally Buddhist priests, but a majority of them work as masons, carpenters, wood carvers, ivory workers, painters, goldsmiths, silver-smiths, brass smiths and bronze smiths. The Bare caste, second in ritual status among Buddhist Newars, are also artisans. These Gubhaju, Bare, and other Newar artisans developed unique architectural monuments, various domestic arts and an urban civilization, a heritage which con-temporary Nepal is proud to claim.
The Uray and Shrestha – of either religious group are traditionally businessmen and shopkeepers. In the ritual areas of Kathmandu Valley and throughout the hill districts many shresthas have settled as farmers. In the markets and cities they worked as civil servants or in other professions.
Within the Shrestha community there are three hierarchically ranked groups which describe themselves as chhathare, panch-thare, and char-thare, literally ‘six’-, ‘five’-, and ‘four’-grade Shresthas. The chha-thare are the highest class among them and in fact consider themselves above almost all Newars. They do not call themselves ‘Shrestha’, but use their family names, for example:Gurubacharya, Karmacharya, Pradhan, Malla, Pradhananga, Munshi, Joshi, Rajbhandari, and so on. Some people believe that chha-thare is not the correct word to describe them. The term appears to be a corruption of the Nepali word Chhetri which immediately brings to mind another element of status classification. The chha-thare Shresthas do follow many traditions very similar to those of the Chhetris. Char-thare is the term used slightingly to describe the new entrants from the lower castes.
Uray and Udas are general merchants or craftsmen in various specialized fields.
Jyapus are the farmers of the community, whose grain and vegetable produce is seen in the market places. They use an hoe for field work and never use bullocks as is most generally done in the hill and Terai regions. For carrying loads they use a yoke balanced across the shoulders, slung with two baskets. Jyapus also run domestic errands for wages for other caste people, but culturally and religiously they are interdependent with the Gubhaju, Bare, adn Uray. Kumales are almost exclusively potters by trade.
The following groups, briefly, are the skilled laborer castes who work to make the Newar community run smoothly: the Chhipa are color dyers; Saymi run the oil presses; Kau are blacksmiths; Pun are painters and printers; Mali work as gardeners and florists and also play an important role in the ritual life of the temples by performing as the masked and costumed dancers in ritual performances; Nau are barbers and nail cutters, but they leave cutting the toe nails of anyone beneath the Jyapu caste to the Nay caste of butchers. Duhin are poor agricultural laborers, often called upon to porter loads as well, and are also masked performers in religious dances. Bha have the specific role of pipers during funeral processions. Pore are the keepers of the temples of Tantric deities in addition to being sweepers. Kulu, Pore, Chame and Halahulu are considered the lowest to the Newar caste hierarchy.
First among Hindus are the priestly Deo Brahmans. The Bhatta Misra and Jha Brahman act as temple priests, recite religious texts, and take roles as lawyers, pleaders, and advocates. The Misra and Jha Brahmin were 'adopted' into the Newar community several centuries ago after migrating up form India, but they still maintain contact with their original community in Tirhut in Bihar State. Therefore the Misra and Jha are referred to as "Tirhute Brahman." Other Newars do not consider them Newar. The Deo Brahmans migrated from India to Nepal Valley independently of the Brahmans discussed in the previous chapter. Today there is absolutely no social intercourse at caste levels between the two groups although many are living in close proximity in urban Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaun.
The Shrestha Hindus have virtually the same standing ritually and economically as their Buddhist counterparts. But because of the greater political power of the Hindu aristocracy from the time of Malla Kings through to the Rana days, the Hindus have enjoyed more prestige and social recognition. Therefore, there was an incentive to many Buddhist Newars to turn to Hindu ways.
The low caste Jogis are tailors and play musical instruments on special occasions, notably at the weddings of those caste people listed above them.
Marriage customs among Newars are as interesting and often as involved as their social-religious organization.
Marriage is as a rule patrilocal and monogamous. The parents traditionally arrange marriages for their sons and daughters, although modernization of Nepali society, the number of young people choose their own partners is increasing. Marriage by elopement is more commonly practised by the Newars partners must belong to different descent group lineages within the same caste living outside of the large urban areas. The marriage group, among the Shresthas, since they are divided into the three grades discussed earlier, one's marriage partner must be from the same grade as well. Buddhist Newars living in a baha, a residential quadrangle around a central court with Buddhist shrines and temples, consider themselves to be of common descent, and intermarriage therein is a taboo. In some areas the rule of 'seven generations' of descent is also observed; members who fall within the common descent group of seven generations are restricted from intermarriage.
Newa art is the art form practiced over centuries by Newa people. The art consists of
Thangka or paubha were traditionally painted by Chitrakars
Newa art depicting Ajima
The 2001 census identified 80.6% of the population as Hindu and Buddhism was practiced by about 11% of the population (although many people labelled Hindu or Buddhist often practice a syncretic blend of Hinduism, Buddhism and/or animist traditions). About 4.2% Sherpa(20%)of the population is Muslim and 3.6% of the population follows the indigenous Kirant religion. Christianity is practiced officially by less than 0.5% of the population.
Hindu and Buddhist traditions in Nepal go back to more than two millennia. In Lumbini, Buddha was born, and Pashupatinath temple, Kathamandu, is an old and famous Shiva temple of Hindus. Nepal has several other temples and Buddhist monasteries as well as places of worship of other religious groups. Traditionally, Nepalese philosophical thoughts are ingrained with the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical ethos and traditions, which include elements of Kashmir Shaivism, Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, works of Karmacharyas of Bhaktapur, and a variety of tantric traditions. Tantric traditions are deep rooted in Nepal, including the practice of animal sacrifices. Five types of animals, always male, are considered acceptable for sacrifice: water buffalo, goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks.
With a multiplicity of groups, Nepal has several cults, and gods and goddesses, which co-exist with the major religions. In its long cultural history, Nepal has always remained a land of religious harmony.
Several of the festivals of Nepal last from one day to several days. Dashain is the longest and the most important festival of Nepal. Generally Dashain falls in late September to mid October, right after the end of the monsoon season in Nepal. It is "a day of Victory over Demons". Tihar is another important festival of Nepal.
Other important festivals include Buddha Jayanti (the celebration of the birth of Buddha); Maha Shivaratri, a festival of Lord Shiva, and during Maha Shivaratri festivities, some people consume excessive drinks and smoke charas. Sherpas, mostly located at higher altitudes and in the Everest region, celebrate Mani Rimdu, for the good of the world. Most festivals include dancing and music and eating all kinds of local delicacies. A variety of foods is consumed during festivals and on special occasions. If one has to taste Nepali food, Newa cuisine is a must have; a festive meal, like one served during a marriage, is a real treat, and include vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes