A flash on Indian Culture, Traditions and Customs

India and its culture and tradition have always been intriguing to outsiders; let's discuss the reasons and logic behind a few such traditions

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May 02, 2017: Indian Culture and traditions are very distinctive from other cultures and that is one of the many reasons why it has now become renowned all across the world. India and its culture are referred to as something very diverse and unique, but we should put some thought into why things are done in certain specific ways. Indian Culture is full of several intriguing unique customs and traditions. The origin of Most of these lies in Ancient Indian scriptures and texts, which have dictated the way of life in India for thousands of years.

1. The Namaste

Namaste, Pixabay

The namaste is one of the most popular Indian customs that is so popular that today it isn’t really just restricted to the Indian territory anymore. Barack Obama has been seen doing it on various occasions, even Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, has been spotted greeting everyone with a namaste at the Times’ Square in New York on the first International Yoga Day. The Namaste, or ‘namaskar’, or ‘namaskaara’ is one of the five forms of traditional greetings mentioned the Vedas. It translates to “I bow to you”. 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 suggest the reductions of one’s ego in the presence of the other.

2. The science behind temples:

Akshardham temple, wikimedia

Most temples are located along magnetic wave lines of the earth; this scientific location helps in maximising the available positive energy. There is a copper plate (called Garbhagriha or Moolasthan) buried under the main idol that absorbs and resonates this energy to its surroundings. Because of these going to the temple frequently helps in having a positive mind and garnering positive energies, which in turn lead to healthier functioning. The practice to take off footwear before entering temple premises helps to prevent dirt to an otherwise cleansed and sanctified environment.

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3. Religious symbols:

swastika, Wikimedia

The Indian traditions and scriptures have various signs and symbols which can mean various things. For example, the usage of the Swastika actually is the symbol of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. The arms of the Swastika have various meanings; they can refer to the four Vedas, the four constellations, or the four basic aims of human pursuit.

4. Atithi Devo Bhava:

Welcoming guests, Wikimedia

The saying “Bhava Devo Bhavah” is also expressed the Indian attitude towards the world; it means “the guest is equivalent to god”. It is a Sanskrit verse taken from the Hindu scriptures which later became a part of the “Code of conduct” for Hindu society since the guest has always been of supreme importance for the host in the culture.

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5. Always a festive season:

Young people smile in Jaipur during Holi Festival, Wikimedia

Mostly because of the prevalence of diverse communities, India gets to see a large number of festivals. The Indian Muslims celebrate Eid, the Indian Christians have Christmas, good Friday and so on, the Sikhs have Baisakhi (harvesting of 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. To be honest, the number is endless. Of course, All of these result in holidays.

6. Joint families:

Joint families in India, Wikimedia

In India, the concept of a joint family, wherein the entire family (parents, wife, children and in some cases relatives) all live together is very popular in India, even though today that has changed due to busy lives. The cohesive nature of the Indian society is the primary reason behind the joint family tradition. Also, this is helpful in handling pressure and stress.

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7. Indian ethnic wear:

Traditional Indian Dress, Pixabay

The most sported ethnic wear by Indian women is the ‘Sari’, a single cloth that needs no stitching, easy to make, comfortable to wear and also adheres to religious etiquette. Today this originally Hindu get-up has become popular in all religions. The same can be applied to the more functional ‘Kurta-Pyjama’, and the ceremonial wear off ‘Sherwani’ for Indian men of all religions.

Thousands of traditions co-exist in the subcontinent of India, and quite a few of them would leave outsiders rather curious. But the mojo of Indian society and tradition and its universal acceptance lies in its authenticity, well mannered, polite, respectful teachings and the unity in diversity.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang