March 1, 2012 at 5:20 am #1117
February 28, 2012 By: shristy
When I was in middle-school, our teacher used to ask us to write an essay on topics like the national animal, the national bird, the national festival and the culture of various ethnic groups. In our Nepali text books, we read poems of Laxmi Prasad Devkota, and I vividly remember one of his essay that described Nepal, it resources and its culture. “4 castes with 36 sub-castes under one umbrella” used to be what I wrote in almost all of my attempts to describe Nepal. Today, I am proud that I was born to a culture that rich and living here in the U.S. has made me realize even more the diversity of our nation.
According to Visitnepal.com, Nepal has over 40 different ethnic groups and tribes. From the popular and brave Sherpas of the Himalayas, to the Brahmans and Chhetris of the Kathmandu Valley, and to the Tharus of the South, Nepal is composed of numerous ethnic identities. The Raute’s are another tribe of Nepal, who live the nomadic life and travel from one place to another within the western region of Nepal, looking for shelter and food.
Today, the Kathmandu valley has become the melting pot, as it is the most developed part of the nation. While I was in Nepal during this past summer, I heard people on the streets talking in unfamiliar languages. Lot of people have migrated from the rural areas to live in the city. And the beauty of this diversity is that we are all under one common roof, and though we have different religious beliefs and different cultural identities, we are all Nepalese.
I may have not realized how much I value my culture, if I wasn’t away from it. In my college, we have two functions in one academic year that are for representation of international diversity on campus. Hence, we all get so excited for the International Dinner and International Festival. We wear our traditional dresses, and dress in different cultural attires, just so that we can give justice to our cultural identity. When people ask us about any of our traditional practices we jump in with excitement to explain what it means, and difference in this context is highly appreciated.
If I wasn’t far away from home, I would care less about dressing in a sari for the International Festival, or I would care less about wearing “Cholo and Fariya” to present myself in any international functions, coming to a foreign land has accentuated the value of my culture. This is probably because, the only way we can distinct ourselves in this place filled with people from all parts of the world is through our culture. Our norms and traditions become our identification, and it is the need to stand out that pushes us further. So exposing the variation and diversity of our roots makes us proud to be who we are. Even though we may have not realized it when we were writing that essay in middle school for mere points, we do realize it now that in a foreign land our identity rests upon our culture and pride is what we get when we portray it exuberantly. Therefore, I can honestly say Our culture, Our Pride.
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