India is home to over a billion people, accommodating incredible cultural diversity between languages, geographic regions, religious traditions, and social stratifications. However, some common themes and principles contribute to the values, attitudes, beliefs, and norms of the dominant society. Generally speaking, Indians tend to have a strong sense of pride in the distinctiveness and diversity of their culture. For example, the country’s agricultural expansions and technological advancements in infrastructure, science, and engineering are sources of pride. Moreover, a considerable amount of pride stems from India’s rich artistic and cultural exports of music, fine arts, literature, and spirituality (especially the practice of yoga).
Greetings of Indians- The Namaste
The Namaste is one of the most popular Indian customs and is not restricted to the Indian territory anymore. You have Barack Obama, who has been seen doing it on various occasions, or you had Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, greeting everyone with a namaste at Times Square in New York on the first International Yoga day
Festivals & Religion – Always a Festive
India also celebrates large numbers 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 sakranti the Jains have Mahavir Jayanti, the Buddhists celebrate the birthday on Buddha Poornima, and quite honestly, the number is endless. All of these translate to holidays in our book, of course.
Religious Customs for Indians- Holy Cow
Cow is worshipped as a maternal figure and is a depiction of the bounty of Mother Earth. Lord Krishna, who grew up as a cow herder is depicted as playing his flute among cows and ladies (milkmaids) dancing to his tunes. Even Lord Shiva trusted vehicle is Nandi- the sacred bull. Thus, feeding a cow or contributing to cow shelters is of immense religious importance for Indians. The Vedic scriptures, in various verses, have emphasized the need to protect and care for cows. Cows are a source of life-sustaining milk.
Even cow dung is an essential and energy-efficient source of fuel, especially in rural India. Hence, several states in India have banned the slaughter of cows by law. Mother cow is, however, not worshipped as other deities.
The Indian traditions and scriptures contain various signs and symbols which have multiple meanings. For example, the usage of the Swastik in the Indian context does not point toward Adolf Hitler or Nazism. It is the symbol of Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. The arms of the Swastika have various meanings. They signify the four Vedas.
Dresses of India
Indian women are sporting a sari. The sari is a single cloth and needs no stitching; it is easy to make and comfortable to dress up and also adheres to religious etiquette. It initially started as a Hindu tradition but has elegantly spread across all religions. The same applies to the more functional Kurta Payjama and the formal wear of Sherwani for Indian men of all faiths.
Folk dance of Indians
Folk dances are performed for every possible occasion like celebrate the arrival of seasons. The birth of a child, a wedding, and festivals, which are plenty. The folk dances are too simple in minimum steps or movement. Indian folk dances are full of energy and vitality. While in some performances they dance together. On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, accompanied by artists with instruments. Each form of folk dance has a specific costume and rhythm. Most of the costumes worn for folk dances are colorful with extensive jewels and designs. Have a look at the folk dances of India.
All the dance forms are a complete dance drama, wherein a dancer or performer narrates an entire story, almost entirely and exclusively through gestures. Such stories are depend on the vast Indian mythology. Classical dances in India are strictly classified and performed according to the rules and guidelines prescribed in the Natyashastra. Just like Classical dances, folk dances in India originate from different regions of the country.
Cuisine – Indian Food
Indian cuisine is eaten socially, in groups, until everyone is satisfied. You will enjoy all your courses at once on a plate of food called a thali. Some foods are mild and sweet some are spicy and hot. Mostly dinners are served later at night since many Indians eat several smaller meals during the day. Food ranges from simple vegetarian fare to exotic dishes layered with texture and flavor. All flavours are including in a platter.
Eating with Hands
Eating with your hands may allow you to have your food slowly and deliberately, which can help you feel full even with less food. It prevents eating, which is a cause of weight gain. It also encourages a sense of satiety or satisfaction. Which is lacking when you use cutlery to have your food.
India is socially, culturally, and linguistically very diverse. Officially Hindi and English are using mostly. However, more than 400 languages and dialects in India are still not. Dialects change even with a few kilometers of travel in the state. Over the years, about 190 languages have become endangered due to few surviving speakers.
There exist thousands of traditions and cultures in India, and quite a few of them would leave outsiders rather curious.
India is home to over a billion people, accommodating incredible cultural diversity between languages, geographic regions, religious traditions and social stratifications. In recognition of, this large demographic diversity. However, there are common themes and principles that contribute to the values, attitudes, beliefs and norms of the dominant society. Generally speaking, Indians tend to have a strong sense of pride in the distinctiveness and diversity of their culture. For example, the country’s agricultural expansions and technological advancements in infrastructure, science and engineering are sources of pride. Moreover, a considerable amount of pride stems from India’s rich artistic cultural exports of music, fine arts, literature and spirituality (especially the practice of yoga).