Leisure Recreation and the Arts

Owing to the gendered division of labor that assigns more different and more frequent kinds of work to women than to men, adult Nepali men have more leisure time than women during the day, and variation among groups is based on age, class, and caste (Cameron, 1998). Socializing with same-sex friends and relatives is typical for both sexes, and illegal and surreptitious card playing is common among male friends, who discuss local and national politics amongst themselves. Boys and girls socialize in a great variety of ways, and often together; they play games, swim in local streams and ponds, and go fruit and honey gathering in the hills. The Nepalis relax and celebrate life in a variety of ways that relate to religious and agricultural seasons, themselves tied to astrological phenomena. The Hindu and Buddhist calendars have numerous holidays when the births of important deities are honored, significant new and full moons are venerated, harvest is celebrated, and ancestors are worshipped. Fasting and other purificatory rites precede some festivals; one example is the annual women's festival of Tij in which the longevity of husbands is prayed for. The most important celebration in Nepal, Dasai, takes place over 2 weeks after the rice harvest in the autumn, and honors the warrior goddess Durga, the Hindu national goddess.

The most popular art form is music. Nepalis learn to sing at home and at school, and are encouraged to create their own lyrics and melodies. Young and old are generally not shy of singing in public, and singing is one of the few public forms of expression that women can participate in. Other art forms that both women and men enjoy are dancing and creating artisan products such as decorated pottery and finely made baskets.

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