Dance » Nepali Folk

Featured in: Dancing in the Shadow of Everest

No festival in Nepal would be complete without folk dance, the beautiful sounds of the madal, and singing. There are almost as many different types of folk dance as there are tribal and ethnic groups in Nepal. However, they all share the similar themes of love, romance, courtship, happiness, and grief. Dances also often portray elements of nature, animals, and birds. Colorful, ornate costumes are worn, many of them accessorized with rich gold jewelry and elaborate hair decorations.

Some of the more well-known styles, with their corresponding ethnic group and region, are:

Village Folk Dances

  • Jyapu-Jyapuni, or Dhimey (traditional farmer dance)

Dances of the Hills

  • Maruni (Eastern Hills)
  • Sorathi (Gurung-Western Nepal)
  • Ghanto (Trance-like dance of the Gurungs)
  • Tamang Selo (Group dance of the Tamang)
  • Shebru (Sherpa)
  • Sakela (The Rai of Eastern Nepal)

Terai Dances

  • Horiya (Tharu dance for Holi Festival)
  • Mungrahawa (Tharu stick dance)
  • Kaharba (House-to-house dance in Terai)
  • Jhinjhia (Dashain Festival)
  • Jat-Jatin (Mithila region in monsoon time)
  • Sama-Chakwa (Fifteen day dance beginning on Chhat)

Other Traditional Dances

  • Sakhiya (Western Nepal women’s dance for Dashain Festival)
  • Jhumare (Women’s circle dance)
  • Kirtaniya (Satyanarayan puja)
  • Nachari (Shaivites for Maha Shivaratri and Basant Panchami)
  • Bhagata (For Kali and Sokha)
  • Dhimal (For fishermen on rainy days)
  • Indra Apsara (Thimi medieval dance of heavenly nymphs)
  • Lusi (Pestle – Satirical dance for social and political life)