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Sherpa History Project
Transcript of Sherpa History Project
The Sherpa follow Nyingmapa. Nyingmapa is a sect of Buddhism. The Sherpa also believe there are gods and demons inhabiting many landforms of nature. The Sherpa worship many of the Himalayan mountains. Mount Everest is Chomolungma this means “Mother of the World”.
The Sherpa have a population of what is expected to be about 45,000 today. Nepal has mostly 25-125 people per square mile.
Both men and women wear the same garment: they wear a shirt over a pant-like garment. Over that they wear a thick warm robe-like wrap around, and they wear a sash around the waist. They wear tall woolen boots, which are secured with colored garters. Sherpa women also wear a cap called a shyamahu. In modern day, men are not really wearing the traditional dress.
The Sherpa live in the Himalayas in Nepal. Many Sherpa live on flanks of hill masses near the crestline of the high Himalayas. Sherpa are also located in some valleys south of Solu Khumbu and very few are scattered throughout Nepal today.
Where do the Sherpa live?
Most Sherpa live above 10,000 feet usually 10,000 - 14,000 feet in elevation. Because of the elevation they live in, the Sherpa have adapted to have more efficient blood, for processing oxygen.
Mt. Everest, or "Mother of the World."
Rights of Passage
Naming is important for the Sherpa and is done by the lama which is a Buddhist spiritual leader. Boys are given more play than girls. Boys undergo an initiation ceremony followed by feasting and drinking, between the ages seven and nine. At death the lama decides the form of burial.
The Sherpa have a rule where a guest must not leave a home without being fed. Guests are usually given Tibetan tea or beer. Guests in Sherpa homes have complete access to the kitchen and the worship area unlike some communities of South Asia.
Sherpa heritage is mainly from Tibet. There is a Tibetan tradition of dance-dramas, or ‘cham, in which monks dress up in elaborate costumes and masks. There is also the tradition of Tibetan traditional music.
What do the Sherpa eat?
The Sherpa mainly eat very starchy food and lots of vegetables with occasional meat being incorporated into their diet. The Sherpa drink a lot of Tibetan tea which is drunk throughout the day. Breakfast is made up the tea and gruel made by adding tsampa which is roasted flour and adding it to water, tea, or milk. Lunch, which is eaten in the late morning, may contain boiled potatoes dipped in ground spices, sometimes stiff dough which is made up of a mixture of grains called sen. A normal dinner is usually a stew called shakpa consisting of balls made of dough, potatoes, and vegetables.
Where Nepal is
The Sherpa speak Sherpa (Sherpali / Nepali). This language is a dialect of Tibetan. It borrows greatly from neighboring languages as well. The Sherpa use Tibetan script when writing and speak Nepali when associating with others.
The jobs Sherpa do are mainly tourist high altitude hiking tours. The business has more than 20,000 people each year to hike the world’s tallest peaks.
The Himalayan region is one of the most diverse regions in the world. There are 35 types of forest and 75 types of vegetation. The area is mostly broad leaf evergreen forest. There is an area of temperate grassland.
The Sherpa live in villages or small towns. In high altitude, houses are usually in the middle of the owner’s fields. When there is flat land, houses cluster in the center of the village’s fields. Houses usually have two floors and are usually made of stone, and roofs are made of wood and weighed down with stones. They do not have electricity, so they use wood stoves.
The climate is almost totally humid subtropical.
Kathmandu is a city in Nepal. This is a graph about temperature, rainfall, and humidity. The temperature is at its highest at 85 degrees Fahrenheit in March. Rainfall is at its most in July, at about 13 inches. The humidity is at 86% in September.
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Sherpa History Project
An important element in Sherpa folklore is the Yeti, or in the West, known as the “Abominable Snowman.” A popular story is that in the past, Yetis were more common, and would attack villages. But the people tricked the Yetis into getting drunk and killing each other off. The survivors swore their revenge and went off into the mountains. They would occasionally attack people today.
The fact that the Sherpa live in the Himalayas influences how they live. Some examples of that are the following: The Sherpa education is very limited, because they live in such a remote area, therefore, isolating the growth of schools. They also have adapted to have more efficient blood, so as to help them process oxygen in the high altitude. They are also located in the middle of lots of cultures, so their culture was influenced by those other cultures. In addition to these the Sherpa do not have electricity which is very different from many cultures today.