The Sherpa People:
If you are fortunate enough to trek or travel in Nepal, and especially in the higher elevations you will have the opportunity to meet the Sherpa people and families. The Sherpa are also some of the warmest and most generous people you will meet who are very proud of their culture and protective of their guests & clients.
Although in the West people often refer to "Sherpa" as a job description of a guide, the Sherpa are actually a distinct ethnicity translating roughly to "people of the east (Sher = east, Pa = people)." The correct pronunciation is actually "Sherwa." Historians believe that the Sherpa people migrated from Tibet in the 1500-1600's or perhaps earlier. Similar to other ethincities in Nepal such as Newari, Gurung, Gorkha, & Rai the Sherpa people have unique customs, dress, and beliefs that govern daily life. The majority of Sherpa are Buddhist. The Sherpa are known for their incredible climbing skills, strength, and adaptability to high altitude (click link to read more).
The Sherpa primarily reside in the eastern sections of Nepal in the Rowaling, Solu Khumbu, & Gauari Shankar regions in addition to the Annapurna regions, some sections of western Nepal as well as Sikkim, & Bhutan. Trekking into the Everest region you will come across dozens of unique Sherpa communities whose members have inhabited the region for centuries. Hard working, family oriented, and independent the Sherpa community are merchants, bankers, lodge owners, farmers, herdsmen, laborers, doctors, porters, world famous climbers, and mountain/trekking guides. Many Sherpa have moved to Kathmandu to find employment that can provide a steady income for their family's and some have moved to various parts of Europe & the USA. Although traditionally many Sherpa men become porters, mountain guides, merchants, or farmers and the Sherpa woman (Sherpani) typically marry young and tend the family or run the lodge/guest houses, things are changing in Nepal. Many Sherpa woman now graduate from college, speak multiple languages, and are vital members of the Nepal workforce.
Since I am not an expert on Sherpa culture I have attached websites giving more information about Sherpa customs, beliefs, and daily life below.
-BBC Sherpa Movie: