9. Beliefs and rituals

The majority of the villagers of Suri are Hindu, although a substantial minority are Buddhists. The rituals and ceremonies of these two religions, a few of which are described in this chapter, form an important framework to daily life. At the same time, Suri villagers share a number of other beliefs, regardless of their religion – most notably a belief in invisible spirits and ghosts.

What shapes your concept of the world – your belief system – if you are born and spend most of your life in a village perched on a hillside overlooked by the towering Himalayas? Of course the religion in which you grow up is one important aspect, but at a possibly more fundamental level, the power of the natural elements, and the inherent dangers in them, is certainly one thing that you cannot ignore. It is fertile ground for a belief in the supernatural…