Khumbu is the homeland of the Sherpa people. Sherpas are the main ethnic group and constitute 90% of the resident population of Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone (SNPBZ). The meaning of Sherpa derived from the Tibetan Sharpa, which means people from the east’ (shar-east and pa-people) to indicate their origin from eastern Tibet called Salmo Gang. The Sherpa people (Sherpa meaning Easterner) of the Sagarmatha National Park have migrated from an eastern province of Tibet.
The Sherpas appear to have left their original homeland and crossed the Nangpa-la pass (5,716 m) into Nepal to escape political pressures. In the late 1400s or early 1500s, these people occupied an uninhabited remote and inaccessible mountain region, which is their present homeland. Today 5,000 Sherpas living here are believed to be the descendants of two original clan settlers. The Sherpa people follow the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, an outgrowth of the Mayana tradition.
Sherpa people conduct various religious ceremonies to appease deities and to ensure prosperity and security reasons. There are two different festivals that Sherpas attend, such as Losar (new year), Yarchang, Phangni as Social Festivals, and Manirimdu (ritual dance festival performed at Tengboche in winter and Thame in summer. The other religious festivals include Dumji (Lama Sangwa Dorje’s memorial festival and Nyingne (fasting and meditation).