Nepal is the meeting point for the indo-Aryan people of Indian with the Tibeto - Burman of the Himalayan, but this gives little hint of the dynamic ethnic mosaic that has developed and continues to change to this day. In a south – north direction, as you move from the plains to the mountains , the ethnic map can be roughly divided in to layers: the Terai the midlands or Pahad zone , and the Himalayan. Each zone is dominated by characteristic ethnic groups whose agriculture and lifestyles are adapted to suit the physical constraints of their environment . In the Himalayan zone , the people are Mongolian of Tibetan descent . they are know as Bhote in Nepali. In the east of the midlands zone, one find Kirati people known as Rai, Limbu groups, they speak Tibeto_ Burman Language. In the Terai zone after the eradication of malaria in the 1950 s the only people to live in the valley were Tharus of Hindu overtones.
Anthropologists divide the people of Nepal into about 50 ethnic groups or castes with their own culture and traditions. Everyone is proud of their heritage. Many people use the name of their ethnic group, caste or clan as their surname. The caste system has many occupational castes such as brahmains ( Hindu priests) Chhetris ( farmers in the hills and soldiers) Newars ( the original inhabitants of Kathmandu valley), Thakalis, Gurungs, Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, Magars, Potters, Butchers, blacksmiths, cobblers, Goldsmiths, clothes washers , etc.
It is said about Nepal that every other structure is a holy shrine and every other day a festival. Well, if the number of annual festivals, both religious and national, is any indication, the saying couldn't be more true. Festivals are an essential part of Nepalese life that garner tremendous local participation. Festivals also offer visitors a valuable opportunity not only for having fun but gaining insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture. The religious festivals follow the lunar calendar, while national festivals have fixed dates. Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal, you can be pretty sure of being at the right time for one or more special events. Some of the major and interesting festivals are presented below.