Customs and Indian Traditions: 10 Unique Elements of Indian Culture

Today, the culture and customs of India are well-known throughout the world. We all think of India’s traditions and rituals as being quite varied and distinctive. However, we rarely consider the reasons why things are carried out in particular ways. Indian culture is rich in numerous unusual practices and traditions that foreigners may find fascinating. The majority of these come from ancient Indian writings and scriptures, which have governed Indian culture for thousands of years.

Here are 10 amazing Indian cultural rituals and traditions.

  • Greetings
  • Religious Rituals
  • India’s festivals
  • Family Structure and Marriage
  • Symbols
  • culture & food
  • Traditional Dress
  • Indian dances
  • Mythology and epics
  • Combative Arts
  • Languages

1. Greeting:

Namaste!
Namaste! (Source)
One of the most well-known Indian practices, the Namaste, is no longer limited to Indian soil. Barack Obama has been spotted doing it on numerous occasions, and on the first International Yoga Day in New York City, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon greeted everyone with a namaste in Times Square.

But what does this mean?

One of the five types of customary greetings recorded in the ancient Hindu texts, the Vedas, is the namaste, often known as namaskar or simply “namaskar.” It means “I bow to you,” and when two people give each other this greeting, it means “May our brains connect,” as shown by the hands folded in front of the chest. The phrase “na ma” (not mine) can also be used to translate the word “Namaha,” which refers to lowering one’s ego in the presence of another.

2. Religion & Festivals: It’s Always a Festive Season

Indian culture is a synthesis of several cultures and religions.
In India, there is always a holiday (Source)

India hosts a lot of festivals as well, primarily due to the diversity of its population. Christians observe Christmas and Good Friday, Muslims observe Eid, Christians observe Christmas, Sikhs observe Baisakhi (crop harvesting), Sikhs observe the birthdays of their Gurus, Hindus observe Diwali, Holi, Makar Sakranti, Jains observe Mahavir Jayanti, Buddhists observe Buddha Poornima, and the list goes on and on. All of these, of course, qualify as holidays in our book.

3. Family Structure and Marriage

Joint Family Concept: An Important Aspect of Indian Culture
One Big Family (Source)

The idea of a joint family, in which the entire family lives together (parents, wife, kids, and occasionally even relatives), is also prevalent in India. This is mostly attributable to the cohesiveness of Indian society, which is also said to aid in managing stress and strain.

4.Symbols

Hindu culture includes fasting in its entirety. Fasts, vrats, and upvas are ways to show the Gods and Goddesses your sincerity, resolution, or appreciation. Throughout the nation, people follow fasts for a variety of religious events. Some individuals will also fast on other days of the week in honor of the God or Goddess that is linked with that particular day. Many people hold the opinion that by doing this, you are depriving your body of a basic need and torturing yourself in order to atone for the sins you have committed up until the fast day.

A rapid’s rules and regulations are appropriate for the specific situation. The Vedic rite of lighting the sacrificial fire for sacrifice purposes is likely where the fast had its start. It can be assumed that individuals observed fasts when they had to start or restart the domestic fires kept in their homes to make daily sacrifices because the word “upvas” has been used to refer to both fasts and kindling sacrificial fire.

5. culture & food

Indian cuisine and food are not only an essential component of Indian culture but also one of the main reasons why India is so well-liked around the world. Although the cooking method differs from place to region, Indian cuisine is well known for its liberal use of spices and herbs. In the same way as languages, dances, religions, and clothing vary across the nation, so do food options. It seems like every region has a distinctive dish or ingredient.

However, the majority of the nation’s staple foods are rice, wheat, and Bengal gram (Chana). Gujrati South Indian and Rajasthani cuisines are fundamentally vegetarian, but Mughlai, Bengali, North Indian, and Punjabi cuisines are largely non-vegetarian. It’s also noteworthy to observe how certain cuisines, like Kashmiri cuisine, have been affected by foreign culinary techniques from Afghanistan, Persia, and Central Asia.

6. Traditional Dress-Indian Ethnic Wear

Indian women are frequently spotted wearing “saris.” The sari is a single piece of material that doesn’t require any sewing; it’s simple to produce, comfortable to wear, and it complies with religious customs. It was originally a Hindu custom, but it has gracefully expanded to all other religions. The same holds true for Indian men of all faiths’ more practical “Kurta-Pyjama” and their ceremonial “Sherwani.”

7. Indian dances

India is a country that values “unity in variety,” and this is also true of our dances. Different dance styles—classified as folk or classical—have their roots in various regions of the nation and serve as a means of expressing the particular culture from which they come. The Hindu Sanskrit scripture “Natyashashtra,” which is a text of performing arts, makes mention of eight classical dances that are categorized as Indian classical dances:

  • Tamil Nadu’s Bharatnatyam
  • Karelian Kathakali
  • North, West, and Central Indian Kathak
  • Mohiniyattam, a Kerela native
  • From Andhra Pradesh, Kuchipudi
  • Mohiniyattam, a Kerela native
  • From Odhisa, Oddisi
  • From Manipur, Manipuri
  • a native of Assam

All of the aforementioned dance styles are complete dance dramas in which the dancer or performer tells the entire tale primarily or totally through gestures. These tales are mostly based on the extensive body of Indian mythology. Indian classical dances are strictly categorized as such and are performed in accordance with the regulations and instructions outlined in the Natyashastra. Folk dances in India are just like classical dances in that they come from many parts of the nation. Most of the stories used in these performances are passed down orally from one generation to the next.

Folk dances have their roots mostly in rural areas, where performances reflect rural residents’ daily lives. Finding a good match is a time-consuming and exhausting procedure that starts with matching certain criteria including horoscope, religion, caste, professional standing, physical appearance, and culture. The majority of the prerequisites are ensured to be “heavenly matches” (even if it has to be tailor-made). Once every box has been checked, the family’s elders gather for a face-to-face discussion. If the conversations go well, wedding planning will get under way in earnest.

8. Mythology and epics

The roots of Indian literature can be found in the great epics, which were translated into poems, plays, novels, and even self-help manuals. Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two most well-known Hindu epics. The longest Sanskrit poem is the Mahabharata, which was authored by Ved Vyasa. These two epics were both intended to emphasize the virtues of sacrifice, fidelity, dedication, and truth. The lessons in both tales represent the victory of virtue over evil.

9. Combative Arts

There are many distinctive martial arts forms practiced in India, some of which date back thousands of years. Some martial art styles call for the use of weapons, while others do not. Some martial art styles, which are primarily employed for warfare, are also utilized for healing. These martial art styles are widely practiced today as fitness and self-defense methods.

10. Languages

India has a wide range of social, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Both Hindi and English are frequently used and accepted in official contexts. In addition, the Indian Constitution recognizes 22 other scheduled languages. There are still around 400 languages and dialects in India that are unknown, though. Even a few kilometers of travel throughout the state causes dialects to diverge. A total of 190 languages have been classified as endangered over time due to the lack of speakers.
In India, there are countless customs and traditions, many of which would pique the curiosity of visitors. But being well-mannered, polite, respectful of others, and working toward common goals has long been at the heart of Indian society and culture.

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