Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Asian Persuasion!

When I was  little girl I was obsessed with being a princess! I so badly wanted to be a princess that I used to get genuinely upset at the fact that I was just an ordinary girl and not princess Jasmine or the like, so much so that one day my mum sat me down and told me that I was in fact a princess. She told me that my real father was an Indian prince but that he had wanted me to live in India and she had wanted to stay in Ireland. Well, the next day I strolled into class and announced to everyone that they were, in fact, in the presence of royalty! This fantasy was over as quickly as it had begun and obviously my mum's little joke was taken way to seriously by me. Although my time as an Indian princess was short lived my fascination with India and all the magic that goes along with it was far from over.

Now Billy is from Nepal, not India. Although they are neighboring countries and have many similarities.They both have a kind of magical mystery that's completely alien to us in Ireland. The main religion in both is Hinduism. This religion has a strong influence on the culture and daily lives of both Indian and Nepalese people. From what they eat to what they wear, the language they speak and the many gods they worship and all their wonderful colourful holidays. Buddha was also born in Nepal ( although Indians will dispute this). Nepal is such an interesting country with so much culture and incredible history.

 So I am on a journey now to learn as much as possible about Nepal and everything there is to go with it. Ollie is half Nepalese and I want him to grow up knowing every inch of his being. I think it would be such a shame for him to grow up not knowing his language, his history or his religion. So here I go on my journey of discover the magic and mystery of this far away land. I will be adding to this post frequently ( I hope) as I learn and discover more about the culture of Nepal and everything that goes with it!

Facts about Nepal

  1. Nepal's flag is the only flag in the world that does not have 4 sides. The 2 triangles represent the Himalaya peaks and the 2 major religions (Hinduism and Buddhism). It has an image of a sun and a moon on it.
2. With 8 of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest, which the Nepalese people call Sagarmatha which means "goddess of the skies".
3. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Limbini is a pilgrimage for many Buddhists and tourists. 

4.The Gurkha are the legendary warriors of Nepal. While surrounding India and China were ruled by foreign powers, no one could take over Nepal. The Gurka's are extremely brave, courageous and great leaders. They have been recruited for the front line of many major armies. A famous quote about them:
"If a man says he is not afraid of dying he is either lying, or he is Gurka"
5. Nepal is becoming increasingly westernized with a huge surge in tourism to the country. The traditional dress for Hindu women are beautiful ornate saree's. These are usually kept for special occasions or religious holidays. 

6. The Cow is considered a sacred animal to Hindus. Devout Hindu's do not eat beef. In India and Nepal cows roam free. There excrement is considered holy too and helps protect against evil. There is a logical reason behind this as it has anti-bacterial properties!

7. Hindus celebrate many holidays. The main one's are Diwali and Holi. Holi is the festival of colour where coloured powder is thrown over eachother. Diwali is the national Nepalese holiday.

8.Hindu's worship one god, but there are many different forms of the one god. Or that the all supreme god created many demi-gods. Some of the main gods are Krishna, Ganesh and Godess Laxmi.

9.Nepal has many different terrains from mountainous areas to valleys and flat terrains. The roads that wind around the mountainous areas are some of the most dangerous roads in the world.
10. The near extinct bengal tiger and snow leapord can be found in Nepal. Along with many other exotic creatures. 

Here are some pieces of typical Nepalese/Hindu clothing sent to me from Billy's family in Nepal. Although Nepal is becoming increasingly westernised, in many areas the traditional way of dressing is still embraced. Billy's family have sent me some beautiful items of clothes.
 Above is the petticoat and top worn under the saree. The top is intricately decorated and the petticoat is like a long slip that ties around the waist. The saree is then tucked into the petticoat.
Saree's are lengths of fabric about 5 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and usually made of chiffon or silk fabric. It is wound and tucked into your underskirt and can be worn over your head. The one on the right in a more casual saree, while on the left, this saree is intricately hand decorated with gems and golden thread. Red Saree's are typically worn by brides during their wedding.( I tried to put this on myself but it is alot harder than I had guessed!)
 Here is Ollie in tradtional Nepalese boys outfit. The hat is the traditional hat worn by nepalese men
                                            He wasn't a happy boy about having this put on him :)
You might have seen women before with the red dot on there forehead. This is a sign of a womans marital status. I don't wear these ones but have had beautiful coloured ones before. These "Bindi's" can be worn as a fashion statement too, like the green and silver one on the far right. Glass bangles are also stacked around wrists to complete the look.
The above outfit is called a "kurta surwal". This would be a casual outfit for women worn with matching trousers. It has hand stiched beading and it quite heavy! Alot of women are choosing western clothes now but this is alsoa very popular outfit. 

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