Religious and Spiritual Values of Forest Plants in Nepal

Religious and Spiritual Values of Forest Plants in Nepal

ABSTRACT

Forests provide food, medicine, energy, shelter, wood and non-wood products to sustain life on earth. Dependency on forests to support subsistence-farming systems has been of paramount importance in Nepal. In addition, there have been numerous essential uses of forest plants in the life system of the Nepalese. These are cultural and spiritual dimensions of forest plant uses. The paper examines how the socio-cultural and spiritual values in Nepal influence the way Nepalese communities perceive plants, and how religious beliefs and practices affect the way plants are understood, utilized and managed.

It was found that about 80 plant species are used in socio-cultural festivals. These plants are essential to start all religious festivals and one cannot imagine completing any religious rituals without them. It was observed that specific species are used for special purposes and festivals. The frequency of requirements varies from daily, seasonal, annual, and periodic to occasional. The nature of the plant species varies from annual herbs to big-sized trees. However, due to loss of species and migration to urban areas, some cultural changes have been occurred. The paper is a detailed investigation of the use of forest flora and fauna for social, cultural and spiritual purposes.