Sherpa Culture and Traditions

Sherpa Culture and Traditions


Sherpa people in the Himalayas have the richest culture in Nepal. This community has been working as mountaineers and has been engaging in mountaineering and activities as such for the longest time known. Sherpa culture and traditions are truly one of the most appreciable and unique cultures and traditions that not everyone in Nepal is familiar with. You have to visit the mountains if you truly want to experience the Sherpa culture and tradition, even though plenty of people from the community live in the hilly and even terai parts of the country.

There is so much to know about Sherpa culture and traditions. If you want to know more, make sure to read till the end of this article!

What is the culture of the Sherpa?

Sherpa people are from the ancient Nyingma, or Red Hat, a sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Sherpa people are one of the most traditional and culture-following communities in Nepal. They have a very rich culture and a clan name. True Sherpas very often hold clan names, without which they cannot truly be considered Sherpas. The culture of the Sherpa has a great influence from religions like Buddhism and animism. There are a total of 18 clans among the Sherpas, and it is possible that a person from this community falls under at least a single one of these clans. Due to marriage in different clans, there is also a possibility that Sherpa people belong to different lineages or clans.

They have their own unique set of cultures that are popular not only in the Himalayan region but also in other parts of the country that they live in. A majority of Sherpas are found in the Himalayan region of Nepal, Tibet, and Sikkim, while a lot of other Sherpa people can be found in other parts of these respective places. One of the strongest points about Sherpa culture is a belief that human beings are associated with both the natural world as well as the cosmic energies, which all combined form a culture that not many other religions preach in Nepal. Though Buddhists, Sherpas have a unique perception of the world and culture than Newari Buddhists in Nepal.

What is the tradition of the Sherpas?

Sherpa people are very rich in traditions. They are artisans when it comes to their work from the earliest of times. However, a lot of people from this community have been actively engaged in mountaineering and activities associated with the mountains for a very long time as well. Moreover, when it comes to their celebrations and beliefs, it all stands out, just like their way of life. A lot many Sherpas are engaged in religious painting and in liturgical (religious) chanting.

Some of them are also involved in indigenous folk songs and dancing. Though not quite the tradition, Sherpas are known for their high endurance in the tall Himalayas, including even the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest.

Which festival does Sherpas celebrate?

Sherpas are very famous for their festivals throughout Tibet, Nepal and Sikkim. Some of the most commonly celebrated festivals of the Sherpa community are Losar, Dumje, and Mani Rimdu. Losar happens to be the most important festival of the community. It falls during February. The festival marks the New Year of the Sherpas.

There is lots of dancing, singing, and rejoicing over feasts and drinks during Losar. A stew called “shyakpa,” which is a meat and potato-based stew with some vegetables mixed in is a unique food that is eaten by this community during both festivities as well as other occasions.