Drinking Age in Nepal
The legal age for consumption of alcohol in Nepal is 18. However, there is a part of the Nepal society that flouts the law based on their religion and allows their children to drink alcohol at a much younger age.
Nepal has been in the news recently because of pressure from the Maoist leaders in the country. These leaders have pressured the government of the country to raise the legal drinking age to 24. In addition, sale of alcohol will be restricted as will advertisements.
According to the latest news the new age for legally purchasing and drinking alcohol will be set to 24. In addition, after the first of October selling alcohol is going to be limited to a few stores and only allowed to be sold for three hours each day. Advertisement for alcohol will be banned from radio, television, newspapers, and in all public places. In addition, no alcohol can be sold within 980 feet from a school or religious place.
These decisions were made after pressure from the Maoist guerrillas. This group has been demanding that alcohol in the country be completely banned.
Religious use of Alcohol
When it comes to alcohol consumption in Nepal, the Nepalese are avid distillers and home brewers. Consuming alcohol is seen as being extremely sacred or a profane act, based on context. Using alcoholic drinks during religious ceremonies demonstrates the social significance of the beverages in the culture and society of the state.
The Sherpa’s of the country use many fermented drinks with their lives being closely associated with chhyang. This brew is needed for every aspect of their life. In the Newari society, drinking is quite natural as well. There are three or four varieties of drink and the liquor is typically brewed at home.
Types of Alcohol in Nepal
Chhyang is the generic term used to describe any beer that is made from either rice or another type of grain. The grains are often fermented in barrels. The unfiltered cloudy Chhyang is typically called jaarnd.
The story behind this drink is that it was unknown to Sherpa’s and Tibetans until a Chinese princess who married a king during the 7th century A.D. brought Chhyang with her as a part of her dowry and because of this it is taken as a way to show hospitality.
Thon or Chhyang is a sweet alcoholic drink that is made through the fermentation of rice. The Newar communities use the drink during social events, festivals, as well as for family celebrations. It is prepared during harvest time.
Sherpa’s use Chhyang in every aspect of their life including sacramental rites and rituals. The Sherpa’s state that the alcohol keeps there spirits high and their bodies warm. They will drink alcohol up to an altitude of 19,000 feet.
The taste of Chhyang will depend on how long it ferments for. The best taste comes when it is fermented for four or five days as it has the best quality and will taste sweet.