Nepalese Culture

Other Considerations

  • Citizens of Nepal tend to prefer ‘Nepali' as the describing demonym for their identity, as it reflects local morphology. ‘Nepalese’ is also very common, particularly in western/English use. However, some may consider this to have British/ connotations.1
  • It is best to use ‘Nepali’ when referring to a person, the language or as an adjective. Use ‘Nepalese’ (noun and adjective) only in proper names that have not changed to follow current usage (e.g. the Royal Nepalese Army).2
  • Discussions about other people’s weight are quite normal in Nepal. Nepalis commonly comment openly when someone has gained or lost weight, even to the person in question. This is not considered too personal.
  • While drinking is acceptable in Nepal, Nepalis are quite careful to avoid being visibly drunk in public. It is considered especially improper for women.
  • Culturally, women are considered to be impure when they are menstruating. During their menstrual cycle, they may not be allowed to prepare food, be in the kitchen or a temple, and may be made to sleep and eat separately from the family.
  • If a family member dies in Nepal, their family does not celebrate any festivals, birthdays or marriages for a year out of mourning.
  • While not all attitudes may be accepting, there is solid protection and recognition of + rights in Nepal under law.
  • The population of Nepal is quite young. It is estimated that only 4.4% of the Nepalese population is over 65 years old.
  • Three is considered to be an unlucky number and may be avoided. For example, if three people have to depart somewhere, one may stay behind and leave after the two others. Some people will schedule which days of the week they travel on according to auspicious signs from shamans.
  • Some Nepalis hang a slipper off their car. This is believed to ward off evil from causing the vehicle to have accidents.
  • Many Nepalis living in villages are illiterate; however, this is unlikely to be the case for those Nepalis who have migrated to Australia.
  • There is a strong military tradition in Nepal. Nepali soldiers, known as ‘Gurkhas’, have an international reputation for being particularly resilient and brave. One’s status as a soldier is a point of pride.
  • The reign and prestige of the Nepali monarchy is over. It is now talked about largely in a past-tense sense.
  • Many Nepalis are coping with trauma and loss following the devastating earthquakes of 2015.



1 Aryal. & Melgar, 2016
2 National Geographic Style Manual, 2020

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