Nepali Himalayan Sherpa is the most popular for climbing big mountain or trekking including Mount Everest. Sherpa is one of the ethnic groups who live in the high mountains of the Himalayas in Nepal. Sherpa migrated from eastern Tibet to Nepal around 500 years ago. In the Tibetan language, Shar Pa means “people who live in the east” and over time this descriptive term has come to identify the Sherpa community. However, they constitute 1,54,622 population of Nepal according to Nepal National Census 2011.
The mother language of Sherpa is known as Sherpali. This language has an influence on the Tibetan language. It belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Also, they uses the Tibetan script of writing. They also speak Nepali (National language of Nepal) and also educated Sherpa can speak English fluently.
Sherpa people follow the Buddhist religion as well as follow Tibetan Buddhism specifically. They go to Gumba (Buddhist Monastery) and pray to their God Buddha. Similarly, they invite Lama in their birth ceremony and cremation. Lamas give a name to the new birth child according to their religious book. Also, naming Sherpa kids is as easy as figuring out the day of the week, literally and figuratively. So, Sherpa parents give a name to the child as per their born day. Such as,
Many of the great Himalayan Mountains are worshiped as Gods. The Sherpa calls Mount Everest Chomolungma and worships it as the “Mother of the World”. Mount is worshiped as the deity Shankar (Lord Shiva). Each clan recognizes mountains God identified with certain peaks that are their protective deities.
Sherpa usually celebrates three types of festivals. The main festival is Lhosar. In the Sherpa language “LHO” means Year and “SAR” means New. According to terminology, Lhosar means “New Year”. This festival falls in the month of Falgun (February). They celebrate this festival gathering and dancing and praying for the peace of all the creatures alive in the world.
In the occasion of Lhosar, they make delicious food and they eat in a group. Another festival is the Harvest festival in which they thanks and celebrate the success of their labor. This festival is celebrated at home and by visiting the nearby monastery to pay respect and attend rituals dances.
Mani Rimdu is the Scared Spiritual festival of Sherpa. The name “Mani Rimdu” means “par of the chant of Chenrezig” for “Mani” and “Rimdu” means small red pills that are blessed during the festival than distributed among attendants of the festival. It is 19days festival during which various dances are performed and the dances performed during the festival have great meanings as they convey Buddhist teaching on many levels from simple guidance to the most passionate one.
Traditional Sherpa’s occupation was centered on agriculture and trade. They cultivate maize, barley, buckwheat, potatoes, and other vegetables. Also, they raise cattle and Yak. Yaks provide wool and milk by which butter can be made and sold.
In present their reputation is; as excellent porters and guides on mountain climbing because of their climbing skills. Tenzing Norge Sherpa submitted Mt. Everest first time in 1953. Since that time hundreds of Sherpa have made various records on it. So, most of the young Sherpa are involved in Tourism Industry till now. Also, some people follow business, official job and go to abroad employment.