The fuss behind traveling in Nepal

In Nepal, there are a really good number of beliefs related to traveling.

Before going on a journey, it is customary to consult an astrologer about the proper time for departure. The traveler takes some rice, one betel nut and a coin in a piece of cloth to ensure a successful journey. If, for any unavoidable reason, he is unable to leave, this bundle is sent out of the house at the auspicious time as determined by the astrologer. Or, he may leave his house at the proper time and stay overnight at a friend’s house before going on his journey. At the time of departure, a brief ceremony is held by his family to wish him good luck, in which the traveler is given a hard-boiled egg, dried fish, meat and wine or curd.

Relatives and friends bring flowers and fruits like oranges, bananas, or coconuts to see off a traveler. Two pitchers full of water are placed on either side of the doorway when the traveler is about to leave the house. When he comes out, he drops a few coins into the pitcher. It is inauspicious to see an empty water-pot when one comes out of the house. It is unlucky to hear a crow or see a window or a pregnant woman.

It is not good to go out of the house at midday or dusk. If someone sneezes when one is about to go out, one must wait a few moments before leaving the place. If one stumbles while walking, it is an indication that a member of the family has suddenly remembered him/her.

Among the Sherpas, when a member of the family is out, some food, salt or rice is kept on a plate until his return. One should not return home after an absence of eight nights and nine days. If one must return at all, one can do so only after the stars have come out.

Upon returning from a visit to the Terai, it is customary to drink a glass of water in which a twig of Chiraita, an anti-malarial herb, has been soaked overnight.