Someone once asked on Reddit – “What unwritten rules do you have in your society?”
This simple question suddenly made us think about our own society. Then we came to the realization that there are tons of unwritten rules out here. And while we may not know the reason behind them, a lot of them are quite reasonable. While quite a few of us do ignore these rules, the majority of Nepalese do follow these rules.
They are not written anywhere but they exist in our mind, as a voice constantly reminding us of the norms of our society.
Here we will explore some of these rules and explain them a bit.
So, let’s get to know these rules!
1) Ask for Blessing whenever you meet an elder
This is one of those unwritten rules of Nepal that is ingrained in almost everyone’s mind. While the method of asking for the blessing may be different depending on your culture, it is something that almost everybody does purely out of habit. And this makes sense, at least in the Nepali context.
Nepal is a country that values relationships and the elder a lot. For the young ones, the elder is the wise ones who have survived and thrived through a tough life. So asking them for their blessing and wisdom makes a lot of sense. This unwritten rule of Nepal is a show of respect towards the elders and a way to deepen the bond between two generations.
2) If No one is at your House- You can’t spend a Night out
Another one of those unwritten rules of Nepal that makes a lot of sense- especially in the modern context. While this unwritten rule is not a modern one, it is still widely valid. The reasoning behind this rule is simple, if the house is empty then it becomes an open safe for the thieves. Even if your house is filled with security measures, if there is nobody in your house, then these thieves have virtually unlimited time.
While the chances of your house being targeted for theft is rather low, it is never zero. Furthermore, there are increased reports of thefts every year during the time of festivals. So this unwritten rule of Nepal is rather a logical one rather than a cultural one.
3) Use Special Cups only When the Guests are Present
While the last two unwritten rules made sense, this one doesn’t- for the most part anyway. You know what we are talking about. Almost every family in Nepal has that special set of cutlery and cups that you only see when you have guests.
Even if you use rather good-looking cutleries and cups in an everyday life, there will always be that set that you only see when there are guests. Our guess is that this rule became the norm as a show of respect towards the guests – a statement that they are being treated in a special way.
That being said, you know that the guests know about that special set of cutleries. After all, when they come to your house randomly, they can clearly see the cups and cutleries that you use on a normal basis. So in a way, this unwritten rule of Nepal does have some meaning behind it.
4) Use the Common Language whenever you are at a party
This is a pretty straight one as well. As Nepal is a place that is filled with people who speak a wide range of languages, it is rather common for one to know people whose mother tongue varies. Especially in the past few decades, people become friends with others from other communities and circles rather easily.
So whenever an event or a party happens there is a good chance that the guests will not have the same native languages. Imagine what would happen if each one of them speak in their own communal language. It will be nothing but a large-scale groupism as people who speak the same language group together and leave ignore the rest of the members, which is not a good sight to behold. So this unwritten rule of Nepal about using common tongue at parties makes a lot of sense.
5) Eat Food With the Right Hand
This is one of those unwritten rules that doesn’t make sense on the surface for a lot of modern people. People usually eat with their dominant hands and that is a normal thing to do. But if you go into a traditional Nepali household, then you are expected to eat with your right hand. Seems a bit forceful for those who are left-handed but there is a very good reason behind it.
This unwritten rule of Nepal is mostly related to how we used to excrete and wash our butts before the spray became common. In fact, a lot of us still use our hands and water to wash our butts after excreting. Now traditionally, the right hand is meant for eating and the left hand is meant for doing this exact thing. And since you wash your behind with your left, it makes sense to not put that hand into your mouth, even if you wash it.
This reasoning has continued to this day and even if you eat with a spoon and wash your behind with a water spray, you are still expected to follow this rule.
6) You are expected to Bring Gifts to a Nepali Wedding
Now, this is again one of those unwritten rules in Nepal that makes sense – but only barely. Nepal is a country where wedding is taken rather seriously and when one happens the entire community participates in it. It is after all a celebration of two people starting a new life together and gifting them will make their new start a bit easier.
But while this is all good, the thing that doesn’t make sense is the invisible pressure on those who don’t bring any gifts to a wedding. You are expected to bring a gift to a wedding – it doesn’t matter how small a gift is but you should have one. For most people it really isn’t much of an issue since spending a few hundred or a few thousand won’t do any harm. But for those who are going through a tough time financially, a wedding of someone close, which should be a happy occasion, becomes a nightmare due to this unwritten rule of Nepal.
7) You are Not Allowed to Cut Nails After Dark
This is again one of those unwritten rules of Nepalese society that only makes sense when it is put into context. A lot of us get scolded when we cut nails at night and a lot of you may have asked why just to get the answer “it brings bad luck” or “it will give you nightmare”.
While it may seem like this is just superstition, it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. When you cut your nails in the dark, you can lose them rather easily. Unless you have a good source of light, those small pieces of nails can be tossed or mist missed when you collect them. These then can very well end up in your food, your bed or they can just poke your feet when you walk on them – none of which are pleasant experiences.
Along with this, you have to remember that this unwritten rule was made back when there was no electricity which made it even more dangerous as you could easily cut your nails deeper than you intended to, making it easier to injure yourself.
In The End,
These are not the only unwritten rules in Nepal – we are filled with them but these are among the ones that make a lot of sense. While you need context to understand some of them, they are unwritten rules that have practical values. They sound weird and none of them are written anywhere, but we are still expected to know them as well a follow them – they are what makes our society unique.
Hope you found this enjoyable. If you have any suggestions for us, do let us know in the comments. And as always, thank you for reading till the end.