The Namaste is one of the most popular Indian customs and isn’t just restricted to the Indian territory anymore. The Namaste or Namaskar is one of the five forms of traditional greeting mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas. It translates to ‘I bow to you’, and greeting one another with it is a way of saying ‘May our minds meet’, indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The word Namaha can also be translated as ‘na ma’ (not mine), to signify the reducations of one’s ego in the presence of the other.
Temples are Holy places for Hindus. Going to the temple often helps in having a positive mind with positive energies. It is also a practice to take off footwear before entering places of worship to create cleansed and santified environment. Most temples are located along magnetic wave lines of the Earth, which help in maximizing the available positive energy. The copper plate (Garbhagriha) buried under the main idol absorbs and resonates this energy to its surroundings.
India sights a large number of festivals, mainly because of the prevalence of diverse religions and groups. The Muslims celebrate Eid, the Christians have Christmas and Good Friday, the Sikhs have Baisakhi (harvesting of the crop), and the birthdays of their Gurus and the Hindus have Diwali, Holi, Makar Sankranti, the Jains have Mahavir Jayanti, the Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on Buddha Poornima, and quite honestly, the number is endless. All of these translate to holidays in our book, of course.
In India, there exists the concept of a Joint family, wherein the entire family (parents, wife, children, and in some cases relatives) all live together. This is mostly because of the cohesive nature of the Indian society, and also reportedly helps in handling pressure and stress.
The concept of arranged marriage in India traces its origin to as early as the Vedic times. For royal families, a ceremony known as the ‘Swanyambar’ would be arranged for the bride. Suitable matches from all over the kingdom were invited to either compete in some computation to win over the bride, or the bride would herself choose her ideal husband. Even today, the concept of arranged marriage remains a favorite among Indians and is an integral part of ‘Indian Traditions’
The Indian Traditions and Scriptures contain various signs and symbols which have multiple meanings. For example, the usage of the Swastika, in the Indian context, does not point towards Adolf Hitler or Nazism. It is the symbol of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. The arms of the Swastika have various meanings. They signify the four Vedas, the four constellations, or the four primary aims of human pursuit.
Fasting is an integral part of Hindu Culture. The origin of fast probably comes from the Vedic ritual of kindling the sacrificial fire for sacrifice purpose. The word ‘upavas’ denotes both fasts and killing sacrificial fire.Fasts or Vrats or Upvas are a way to represent your sincerity and resolve, or express your grattitude to the Gods and Goddesses. People throughout the country observe fasts during various religious occasions or different days of a week in favour of particular god or goddess. It is widely believed that by doing so, you are depriving your body of a basic necessity and thus, punishing yourself to cleanse off the sins that you have committed until the day of fast.
Cuisine & Food
Indian food and cuisine have a significant reputation for their extensive use of spices and herbs. The style of cooking food varies from region to region with a wide variety of food throughout the country. Almost every region is known for a signature dish or ingredient. The Indian nation mostly consists of rice, wheat, and Bengal gram. While vegetarian food is an integral part of Gujrati South Indian and Rajasthani cuisines, non-vegetarian dishes from Mughlai, Bengali, North Indian and Punjabi cuisine.
Indian women are often seen sporting ‘saris’. The sari is a single cloth and needs no stitching. It is easy to make and comfortable to wear. Sari is a Hindu tradition, later it spread elegantly across all religions. Indian men traditionally wear ‘Kurth Pyjama’ and ‘Sherwani’.
- Bharatnatyam – Tamil nadu
- Oddisi – Odhisa
- Sattriya – Assam
- Manipuri – Manipur
- Kuchipudi – Andhra Pradesh
- Mohiniyattam – Kerala
- Kathakali – Kerala
- Kathak – North, West and Central India
- Rouff – Jammu and Kashmir
- Bhangra – Punjab
- Garba – Gujarat
- Bihu – Assam
- Lavani – Maharastra
- Pulikali – Kerala
- Karakattam – Tamil Nadu
- Veranatyam – Andhra Pradesh etc.,
Indian literature can be traced back to the great epics written in the form of poems, plays, stories, and even self-help guides. The most famous Hindu epics are Ramayana and Mahabharata. Mahabharata, by Ved Vyasa, is the longest poem written in Sanskrit. Both these epics are written in order to highlight human values of sacrifice, loyalty, devotion, and truth. The moral of both stories signify the triumph of good or evil.
India is home to quite a few unique styles of Martial Arts, some of which have ancient origins. While some martial art forms require the use of weaponry, some don’t. Mainly used for combat, some martial art forms are also used for healing. In today’s times, these martial art forms are popular as self – defence techniques and even fitness.
India is socially, culturally, and linguistically very diverse. Hindi and English are widely spoken and recognized for official purposes. Other than that, there are 22 scheduled languages recognized by the constitution of India. However, more than 400 languages and dialects in India are still not known. Dialects change even with a few kilometers of travel in the state. Over the years, above 190 languages have become endangered due to very few surviving speakers.
Eating with Hands
Eating with hands may not sound great to many people. However, it has many benefits. Fingers being heat receptors, they prevent your mouth from burning when the hot food is put inside. You get to check the temperature before eating the food. other than that, you tend to eat slower when you dine with hands this aids in digestion. One must thoroughly wash his/her hand with soap and water before eating. This practice makes the eating practice very hygienic. Eating with hands is a widespread practice in South and East India, but it’s a bit rare in North and West India. In North and West India, people use spoons to pick up the rice but the fingers to break down the bread.