Living with animals


The people of Nepal have co-existed with the other creatures in their environment for thousands of years. This custom of respecting animals is linked to different religious philosophies that are practiced here, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. These traditions promote a balanced approach to living side by side with animals. 

What tradition did I learn about?:

Many traditions in Nepal promote respect for living things and regard some animals, such as cows, as being holy. In fact, cultural and religious belief systems in Nepal and India link millions of gods, goddesses and dieties to cows. 

Why does the community have this tradition?:

Depending on your cultural or religious practice you might regard cows as being related to a beloved goddess called Laksmi, or you might perform a ceremony for a cow to attract abundance. Others see cows as being one form of mother-earth, and these animals should be respected for the resources they provide, such as milk for cheese and yogurt. There is even a national holiday for cows.

Is this tradition connected to its environment? How?:

Nepali people have lived respectfully with the plants, animals and other natural resources for centuries -- even mountains are regarded as sacred. This respectful approach to nature has benefitted all who rely upon the environment here.