Class 9 Social Studies Note
OUR TRADITION, SOCIAL VALUES AND NORMS
Our Tradition, social Values and Norms:
Custom is a common habit and tradition is a belief. Ours customs, traditions and our whole lifestyle are highly influenced by religious beliefs. In a similar manner, our social values and norms are also guided by religion. Unique ways of life have developed in Nepal. These, in turn, have given rise to different types of customs and traditions in the country. For example, Nepalese do not shake their hands like westerners to greet each other; they instead place their palms together with the fingers up in front of their chest or chin and say “Namaste” or "Namaskar" to superiors.
The culture of Nepal is rich and unique. The cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries. This multi-dimensional heritage encompasses the diversities of Nepal's ethnic, tribal, and social groups.
Nepal is a multicultural, multilingual and multiethnic country. Similarly, Nepal has the people of different religious tolerance among the people. However, the people who follow Hindu religion are in great number. Besides this, Buddhism is another popular religion of Nepal. The founder of Buddhism is Gautam Buddha. Who was born in Lumbini, Nepal. He is famous as the Light of Asia. There are many followers of Islam, Christianity, Shikhism, Jainism and Kirat religion. Every religion has its own values and norms. People of every religion can celebrate their festivals according to their culture and traditions. Some important festivals are as follow. Some festival which is celebrated by different religious communities of Nepal re as follows;
The Hindus all over the world celebrate Dashain. It is also known as Bada Dashain. It falls in autumn in the months of either September or October every year. It is celebrated for fifteen days from the day of Ashwin Shukla Pratipada i.e., Ghatasthapana till Purnima, Goddess Durga is worshipped on the occasion. She is regarded as the Goddess of Power. The elder members in the family put Tika and Jamara and bestow blessings to the younger members on the tenth day to mark this occasion. The tenth day is remembered as the Day of Victory i.e,Vijaya Dashami.
It is believed that this festival is celebrated to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over Maisasur, a demon, and Lord Rama over Ravana, the demon King of Lanka. This festival, therefore, symbolises the victory of good over evil and truth over falsehood.
It is another great festival of the Hindus. People celebrate it with great pomp and show. It comes about fifteen days after Dashain. This festival is also called Diwali or Deepawali i.e.,the festival of lights. It is observed for five days from Kartik Krishna Dwadashi up to Kartik Pratipada. The first two days of this festival are dedicated to Kag i.e.,the crow,and Kukur,i.e., the dog. The third day is called Gai Tihar or Laxmi Puja. Cows are worshipped on this day in the morning and Goddess Laxmi in the evening. She is regarded as the Goddess of Wealth. People clean their houses, decorate and illumine them all night by putting candles, small oil lamps or colourful electric bulbs. And they pray that Goddess Laxmi dwell in their house. People, particularly girls and women play Bhailo in groups on the night of Laxmi Puja. The final day is called the Bhaitika. On this day, sisters worship their brothers and wish for their long and healthy life. They put tika and garland them. They serve different varieties of sweets, fruits and delicacies to their brothers. The brothers, in turn, give them cash and gifts.
Chhat is a great festival of the Hindus of central Terai of especially the Maithili people. It is a festival of the Sun-God. It is celebrated on the fifth day of Kartik Shukla, six days after the Laxmi Puja. Both men and women celebrate this festival. However, only women observe fast during the day for three days, worship the setting sun in the evening and then only eat. On the sixth day, they all gather around richly decorated platforms near a local pond or a nearby river early in the morning. They take bath and workship the rising sun with flowers and lamps for the long life and good health of their husbands. After finishing the worship, all the family members sit together and eat variety of sweet. It brings happiness and joy in the family and community.
Lhosar is a Buddhist festival. Lho means year and Sar means new. Lhosar thus basically is a New Year festival. It is celebrated mainly in the Himalayan region by the Gurungs, Tamangs and the Sherpas. They celebrate Lhosar according their own community and customs. Some celebrate it on 15th of Poush, some on Magh Shukla Pratipada and others on Falgun Shukla Pratipada. The Gurungs have Tamu Lhosar, the Tamangs celebrate Sonam Lhosar and the Sherpas observe Gyalpo Lhosar.
Lhosar is a festival of feast, joy and dance. People draw swastiks, symbol of peace and good fortune, in their homes. They also decorate their homes with paintings of natural elements like the Himalayas, the sun, and the Moon. They wear new clothes and eat sumptuous meals. They generally gather at public places and play games, engage in fun, sing and dance. They also visit their elders and seek their blessings for a healthy and prosperous New Year. They exchange greetings and gifts with each other.
The most important festival for the Christians is Christmas. It is also known as X-Mas. The letter X represents the holy sign Cross for the Christians. It falls on 25 December every year. It marks the birth anniversity of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. It is generally celebrated for three days from 24 to 26 December.
Christmas Eve is celebrated on 24 December. On Christmas eve, they decorate a pine tree called Christmas Tree with candles, colourful papers, balloons and flowers. They keep the presents and cards given by their friends and relatives under this tree. They open them later to know who owns the most and best of them. They have great fun. The Christmas father is Santa Claus. It is believed that he comes during the night and leave presents for the children in their socks. During the day, they go to church and pray together. They put on special caps and new clothes.
Eid is a New Year festival of the Muslim community according to the Hijri or Hijaratera. The Hijriera began from the time of Prophet Mohammad who is the messanger of their Allah. All the Muslims follow the Hijri calender. It is believed that some people threatened to kill Prophet Mohammad while he was preaching his ideas. He along with his followers, therefore, left Mecca for Medina. This journey is called Hijara which means migration. Mecca and Medina are thus the two most holy places of the Muslims.
The Muslims observe a month long fast called Roza during the month of Ramjan. They do not eat anything, not even drink water during daytime. All the family members sit together and eat after sun set.They believe that this will purge and discipline them. They celebrate the last day of Ramjan as Eid-ul-Fitr. They congratulate, embrace and greet each other Eid Mubark which means Happy New Year. They put on new clothes, eat variety of sweets and visit their friends and relatives.They go to the mosques and read Namaz.
6. Maghe Sangkranti:
Maghe Sangkranti has a great importance in the Nepalese society. Sangkranti means the first day of the month .Therefore, Maghe Sangkranti is observed on the first day of the month Magh. This festival is observed to mark the end of winter season. Maghe Sangkranti is a social festival. It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. In hilly regions people gather at the riverside and take bath early in the morning and eat Til ko Laddu(a kind of sweet made of sesame),boiled roots(yam, sweet potato, potato, etc.) and Khichadi (dish made with rice and lentil together ).It is believed that all the food that we eat on this day shall have been cooked at the previous day(end of the Poush month)except Khichadi. In terai, especially in Tharu community, this day is celebrated as ‘Maghi’. This day marks the New Year in their community. Many of the fairs are organized at different parts of the country. The fun and excitements of these fairs are remembered throughout the year.
Janai Purnima is the common name of the festival Rishi Tarpani or Raksha Bandhan. This festival falls on Shrawan Shukla Purnima (The full moon day of Shrawan).This day is one of the most important days for the Hindu community because it has highly religious value. People take bath early in the morning and the male members of Brahman and Chetri change Janai for the year. Janai is the sacred thread, which they start to wear after the Bratabandha or Upanayan ceremony. On the same day all the people receive another sacred thread yagyopavit(Raksha Bandan).It is believed that this tread prevents them from on every kind of misfortunes. In the terai sisters tie Rakhi on the brothers’ wrists, secure their brothers making from any kind of mishaps. On this day all the people of Newar community prepare a special Kind of soup, Kwanti which is made by mixing nine different kinds of seeds.
This festival is celebrated by the women of Hindu society. This festival falls on Bhadra Shukla Tritiya (the third day of the full moon of Bhadra).This festival is also known as Haritalika. On this day all the women observe fasting for the whole day. It is believed that in the Vedic period, Parvati observed fasting on this day hoping to marry with Lord Shiva. And just after that she got married with him. So, the married women celebrate this festival for better status and long lives of their husbands, and the unmarried girls wish for good husbands. On the eve of Teej (The evening before the fasting day)all the women eat ‘Dar’ with the family members. Dar is a special meal, prepared for that special day of Teej.
Nepal’s social customs:
Nepal is a multilingual, multiracial and multi-religious country. It is said that Nepal is garden of four castes and thirty-six sub-castes. People from different castes and religions live here in mutual cooperation and friendly environment. They make a common culture, which is called Nepali culture. The people living in mountains are of different cultures than those living in hills and the Terai. Some of the social characters, cultures, traditions, practices and customs are described below.
Brahmins and Chhetris:
Brahmins and Chhetris live in all the ecological zones like the Mountain, Hill and Terai. They follow Hindu tradition. They are very rich in culture and high position in the society. After eleven days of child birth, the family celebrates Nwaran ceremony which is naming day. Bratabandha is performed for a son. The boy is given sacred thread (janai) after some religious rites. After reaching adulthood individuals perform marriage. Marriage is an important social custom. Recently, love and arranged marriages are also becoming popular. They burn the dead body according to Hindu tradition. They celebrate many festivals like Dashain, Tihar, Teej, Janai purnima, shivarati. Holi and Chhat are especially celebrated in the Terai region.
Mostly Newars live in Kathmandu Valley. Newars are very rich in their culture and customs. It is said that there is seldom a month when Newari festival does not take place. The Nwaran is done from the fourth to eleventh day of the birth. Belbiwaha (lhi) is very famous among the Newars. They have customs of Gufa for the girls. Both love and arranged marriages are practiced. Dead body is burnt according to their tradition. They celebrate Dashian, Tihar (Mhapuja) Gai Jatra, Ghode Jatra, Indra Jatra,Gathemangal, Kumari Jatra, Maghe sankranti etc. with great extravagance.
Magar mostly live in the hills. The name giving ceremony is performed from the eleventh to fifteenth day of the baby’s birth. Magars have become the most tolerable caste among the Nepalese. Love, arranged and Jari marriage are seen in the Magar community. Marriage between ‘Mama Cheli’ and ‘Phupu Chelo’is common in Magar community. They cheer their life everyday with eating and dancing. The deceased is burnt in this community. Koura Nach, Ghatu Nach, Nag Pooja, etc. are popular festivals among the Magars.
The Sherpas live in the high hills and mountains. The Nwaran ceremony is celebrated on the third, seventh and eleventh days of the baby’s birth. Mostly they belong to Buddhism. Love, arranged and jari marriages are practised. Dead body is buried in a crematorium. Lhosar, Dumji, Osho, etc. are the famous festivals among the Sherpas.
The Tharus live mostly in the Terai. They are very simple minded people. Their peculiar culture is famous all over the world. The Nwaran is performed from the sixth to ninth day of the birth. Both love and arranged marriages are practised. The dead body is either burned or burried. Maghi, Phagu, Jitia, etc. are the famous festivals in Tharu community.
The Limbus lives in the eastern mountains of Nepal. Nwaran (Name giving ceremony) of girl child is done on third day, but boy’s name is given on the fourth day of the birth. They worship nature like rivers and Himal. Love marriage, arranged marriage and ‘Chori Bibaha’are very common in Limbu community. The dead body is buried in a fixed crematorium. They celebrate famous festivals Udhauli on the full moon day of Mangsir and Ubhauli on the full moon day of Baishakh. Dhan Nacha is famous folk dance of Limbu community.
Rais community mostly lives in eastern hills of Nepal. They give name to the newly baby from the third day to the sixth day of their birth. They follow both love and arranged marriages. After death the dead body is buried in a grave in a fixed place. They have a peculiar custom of firing guns during funeral procession, Chandi Naach (Sakela), Nwagi and Badangmet are their festivals.
World Heritage site:
There are ten heritages of Nepal that are listed in the World Heritage List. Among them two of the heritage sites are important naturally. Similarly other eight sites are important either historically or culturally and religiously. Talking about the naturally important sites, they are Sagarmatha National Park and Chitwan National Park. Sagarmatha National Park includes the highest peak of the world along with very precious flora and fauna. Chitwan National Park is famous for one horned rhinosceros. Out of ten places seven of them lies within the Kathmandu valley and the rest lies outside. Apart from those two National Parks Lumbini lies out of the Kathmandu valley. Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha is very important place. Various Buddhist countries of the world have made their monastries in Lumbini.
Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Lalitpur Durbar Square are three historically renouned place that are included in the List of World Heritage Sites. They were built during the Malla period and are highly renowned for the craft and design.
Swayambhunath Temple and Bouddhanath stupa are the Buddhist pilgrimages that lies in the World Heritage Site from Kathmandu valley.
Pashupatinath Temple and Changunarayan Temple are rest of the sites included in the World Heritages Sites. Pashupatinath Temple and Changunarayan Temple were built by the Lichchhavi Kings Prachanda Dev and Man Dev respectively. Both of the temples are Hindu temple.
National Heroes of Nepal:
National Heroes of Nepal is only offered a Nepalese people for their contributions to the pride of the nation is it in religious, cultural or economic reforms, wartime bravery, to the cause of democracy, literature, architecture. Some of them are:-
1. King Janak
4. King Ram Sham
5. Amar Singh Thapa
6. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa
7. Mahaguru Falgunanda (Kirat)
8. BalBhadra Kunwar
9. Bhimsen Thapa
11. King Tribhuvan
12. King Prithivi Narayan Shah
15. Gautam Buddha
16. Bhanubhakta Acharya
Moti Ram Bhatta