January 11 – National Unity Day in Nepal

Posted on January 11, 2018

The fellow who unified modern Nepal was born a loooong time ago:

295 years ago, to be exact!

King Prithvi Narayan Shah is sometimes called the Father of the Nation. 

People gather in Kathmandu, the capital city of this small Asian country, to honor Prithvi Jayanti - also known as National Unity Day. There are rallies and banners and
placards, flowers to lay at the feet of the King's statue, and renewed promises to make every group, every language, every ethnicity and culture in Nepal even stronger.

Here are some things that make Nepal special:

REALLY tall mountains!

Even though Nepal is a small nation, it has eight of the world's tallest ten mountains!!! People come from all over the world to see and/or climb these amazing peaks.

Including, of course, the famous Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. (The Tibetan name for Everest is Chomolungmain, and the Nepali name for it is Sagarmatha.)

Nepal has never been under direct foreign rule, including never being actually colonized...probably because of the high mountains and the difficulty of conquering and holding a very mountainous nation. Even the mighty British Empire just made a peace treaty with the rulers of Nepal. Nepal ended up being a "buffer zone" between two big powers - Imperial China and British Colonial India.

Nepal is shown in red on this map.

Remember all that diversity of groups, languages, ethnicities, and cultures I talked about above? Well, Nepal is described as having more than 80 ethnic groups and more than 120 different languages - even though it is smaller than my state of California!!

As for religions, most Nepali people follow Hinduism, and Nepal is home of a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindus from all over the world to visit this Pashupatinath Temple. 

Also, Nepal is considered the traditional birthplace of the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama. People come from all over the world to make pilgrimages to this birthplace, Lumbini.

Have you noticed that "people come from all over the world" a lot? Yes, tourism is an important aspect of Nepal's economy - but it would be a more important factor if the country were more stable politically.

For more on Nepal, check out this earlier post.

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