16 traditions and customs you need to know!

The Indian subcontinent is a potpourri of many cultures and traditions, found nowhere else in the world. In fact, the cultural vastness of the country is so enormous that it is difficult to generalize about the basic customs and norms followed by people living here. These cultures come from different religions that have different belief systems, lifestyles and social organizations. From clothes to food and greetings to weddings, a foreigner will be intrigued to notice the amount of cultural diversity that exists even within the same groups.

In this article, we have identified 20 amazing cultures, customs and traditions of India, which are unique to our country.

16 unique customs and traditions in Indian culture:

Let us now see the different customs and traditions followed in Indian culture and their specialties:

1. Greeting:

Indians use ‘Namaste’ as a traditional way of greeting people by joining the palms with the fingers facing up and bowing slightly with a smile on the face. This respectful gesture is called the Anjali Mudra, a form of non-verbal communication to show respect, politeness and honor to others. The meaning of Namaste is “I bow to the Divine in you” because we Indians believe in the principle that “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”. This unique Indian custom caught the attention of even international leaders during the time of the pandemic, as it was considered the safest contactless way of greeting in the world.

2. Traditional clothing:

India has a huge cultural diversity when it comes to traditional clothing. The many religions, social practices and local weather conditions influenced the design and fabric of clothing. No matter how modern people’s outlook is, their love for traditional outfits never dies. In fact, Indians wait for special occasions like weddings and festivals to showcase their culture’s unique clothing. From sarees to ghagra cholis, dhotis to kurta pajamas, one can notice a wide range of clothing in India.

3. Religion:

The most amazing aspect of Indian culture is how people of different religions live together in harmony. There are about 7 religions followed in India including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. Among these, Hinduism is the main religion, followed by about 79.8% of the total population, followed by Islam which has 14.2% of followers. The concept of “living together but apart” is the most beautiful part of India, because there is love, respect and tolerance for other religions.

4. Holidays:

Different religions give rise to different cultures and practices, as well as different sets of festivals that mark important days. There are many significant festivals which are not only significant for a particular religion but also celebrated as cross-cultural events. Some of them are Diwali. Eid, Christmas, Holi, Baisakhi, Rakhi, Mahavir Jayanti and Buddha Purnima. Moreover, there are many tribal festivals celebrated among the different tribal groups of India, the most prominent of which are Hornbill Festival (Nagaland), Bhagoria Festival (Madhya Pradesh), Sammakka Sarakka Jathara (Telangana) etc.

5. Fasting:

Fasting or abstinence from food for a particular day or period is another remarkable aspect of Indian culture. Regardless of religion, people believe that fasting is a way to cleanse the body of toxins and poisonous thoughts to bring them closer to supreme power. Hindus fast on auspicious days like Karva Chauth, Shiva Rathri, Nav Rathri, Eka Dashi etc. Muslims completely fast for 30 days during the holy month of Ramadan, which involves complete abstinence from food, water, and even saliva. Christians fast for 40 days before Christmas, known as the period of Lent.

6. Places of worship:

With so many religions and belief systems in India, there should also be different places of worship. These places are centers of spirituality and devotion where people, regardless of economic status or position, gather to worship God. Examples of such places are temples (Hindu), mosque (Muslim), church (Christian), monastery (Buddhism), etc. People treat these structures as sacred places, where idols or images of God (except in mosques) are worshiped in different ways. . It is important to take off your shoes before entering these sacred shrines to prevent dirt from spoiling the sanctity of the place.

7. Food:

Food is an integral part of Indian culture and is considered a boon from God. The country is a foodie’s paradise as each region boasts of a local cuisine unique to the place. Ingredients and cooking techniques vary greatly from north to south. The staple foods in North India are roti, dal, saag, chole bhature, dhokla, butter chicken etc. while in South India one can relish a crispy dosa, a filter coffee, a traditional thali, etc. and savory dishes like Pani puri, Gulab Jamun, Samosa Ragada, Pav Bhaji, etc., which are enjoyed even by foreigners.

8. Eating with your hands:

According to traditional Indian culture, eating with bare hands is very good for your health. Using the hands while eating helps to understand the temperature and texture of the different foods served on the plate. This activity activates the “hunger” signal in your brain, which tells your stomach to start producing digestive enzymes. According to the ancient principles of Ayurveda, the practice of eating with five fingers of our hands keeps us in tune with the five elements of nature. Moreover, it becomes easy to combine different flavors with your hand and enjoy a healthy meal.

9. Ancient architecture:

India is home to many architectural marvels which were built with the most advanced technologies during the ancient period. Many temples and ancient structures feature ornate carvings with intricate detail to showcase lost culture and. Some of them even have science-defying constructions that amaze technicians today. A few of these ancient architectural and engineering marvels are Ellora Temple, Hampi, Konark Sun Temple, Khajuraho, Konark Sun Temple, Mahabalipuram Temples, etc. to name a few. -ones.

10. Language:

One of the significant aspects of Indian culture is its linguistic diversity comprising several languages ​​and dialects. According to a 2011 survey, there are approximately 121 major languages ​​and 1599 minor languages. Another official report states that there are around 19500 native languages ​​spoken in India, which is one of the highest in the world. Each Indian state has an official language which is locally concentrated, with a few exceptions which are also spoken in other states. Among these languages, Hindi is the most widely spoken language with Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil occupying the following positions.

11. Epics and Mythology:

India has many epics and mythologies that form the founding texts of its culture. The two greatest epics are Ramayana and Mahabharata which are written in Sanskrit and later translated into many regional and foreign languages. Both epics are about life and war stories that took place during two periods – Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga. They are not just stories but historical events that teach us many spiritual and life lessons. Apart from these two, there is a compilation of sacred texts called Chaturveda or the Four Vedas which prescribes all the rules and guidelines to be followed to be a perfect human being.

12. Marriage:

Weddings are the main part of Indian culture as they mark the beginning of a new phase for two individuals. Unlike Western countries where weddings are strictly a private affair, Indian weddings are celebrated in grandeur and with a guest list that can sometimes cross 1000 people. Religion and local traditions shape the wedding customs and rituals which can take place over a period of 3-5 days. There are many events like Haldi, Mehndi, Bridal Shower, Reception, Sangeet etc. during which the two families meet and bond well. One can expect to find larger-than-life venues with ornate decorations, elaborate menus, and ladies sporting expensive jewelry.

13. Traditional Sports:

Many people assume that cricket and badminton are the only two main sports in India. This is far from true! India is home to many sports which have influenced many modern athletics and Olympic sports. These sports are true icons of Indian culture as they bring people from different communities together and improve their way of life. Some of the famous traditional Indian sports are Mallakhamb, Silambam, Jallikattu, Vallam Kali or Snake Boat Race, Kabaddi, Pehelwani or Wrestling and traditional martial arts like Kalari Payattu and Thang Ta.

14. Family structure and values:

Mixed families, where two to three generations of family members live together under the same roof, are the preferred family types in Indian culture. A typical joint family consists of 20-30 people of different age groups and mentalities. It is surprising how closely family relationships are intertwined despite huge generation gaps. Structurally, these families include grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and sometimes even distant relatives.

15. Visual arts:

There are many forms of visual art in India which represent the traditional cultures and traditions of the country. These art forms have been passed down from generation to generation with minimal modifications to preserve their original nature. Indian arts are synonymous with rich colors, artistic patterns and skillful depictions of our daily experiences. Some of the major art forms are sculptures, paintings, pottery, textile arts, weavings, etc. which are unique to specific geographical regions and cultures of India.

16. Performing arts:

Performing arts have a major importance in Indian culture and were the main forms of entertainment in ancient times when there was no technology. In addition to providing recreation from mundane activities, the performing arts allowed artists to express themselves and move in creative and engaging ways. The four major performing arts forms in India are dance, music, theater and film. Each art form is based on a particular story or sequence that is conveyed to the audience through body movements, songs or expressions.

Indian culture is such a broad term that it is difficult to identify a few under the subject. The country with the oldest civilization in the world features massive cultural diversity that is unparalleled in the world. What do you think are the other unique aspects of Indian culture?


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