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Customs and Traditions of Nepal

Marriage and Family

Many higher-caste people in Nepal are vegetarian or eat no meat(Click to Enlarge) Nepalese people generally eat with their hands. Only in some urban homes and some northern districts do people eat with other mediums. other than goat. Rice with lentil soup and vegetable curry are often the main dishes in urban areas or among the rural upper classes. The middle castes eat goat or chicken when they are available, and occasionally eat water buffalo. Hindus do not eat beef, and Muslims do not eat pork. Meat is usually consumed no more than a few times a month and then in small quantities. Larger quantities are eaten only at festivals. Sherpas and Tibetans tend to eat meat more often than other groups. Fruits and vegetables are used in season.

Millet and maize are staples for most Nepalese, although rice is a staple in the Tarāi. Roti (flat bread) may be prepared with different grains; wheat is preferred, but a Brahman will also eat a maize roti. Millet and buckwheat are more often eaten by poorer people. Hill people eat dhedo (porridge) made of maize meal, millet, or buckwheat.

In most homes, men and guests are served first, followed by children, then women. Chopsticks are used in some northern districts, but elsewhere food is eaten with the hand. Because of the Hindu principle of jutho (ritual impurity), food is not shared from the same plate or eaten with the same utensils. When drinking water from a communal container, the lips do not touch the container. Higher caste Hindus are careful that their food is not touched by people outside their caste or religion; food prepared by any caste lower than one’s own is considered jutho and cannot be eaten. Therefore, at social gatherings involving more than one caste, the Brahmans, who are the highest caste, prepare the food. Only roti can be prepared by a lower-caste person.

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