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The culture of India is the way of people living out there, what they speak, their religions, celebrations, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs. India is land of unity in diversity because people of different religions live together. The culture of India is the oldest, yet unique and colorful. There is a certain welcoming about India that are known worldwide for instance, greetings to elders and outsiders “Namaste” is most common way of greeting. Namaste is important in the Hindu culture because it’s a symbol of respect and admiration not only for elders, outsiders but, also for younger too. In India, younger touching elder’s feet it shows great respect to their elders. “They touch the feet of their elders daily after waking up and especially on the festive occasions or before starting an important work.” They greet their guests with respect and them with utmost care. I have always believed in the concept of “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means “The Guest is considered equal to God”.
There are different types of languages depending in the places. “Each area has their own languages and people like to speak in their mother language”. The languages in India besides English and Hindi are Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi and many more. Joint family system is part of Indian culture to showing respect to their elder. People still live together as joint family but, now people have profession so they have to come out for job opportunities and stayed alone. There is always a hand of elders on their head in joint family and for alone too. Staying alone you have freedom and understanding the life in a wide way.
There are different types of festivals celebrated in India. “Different people celebrate different festivals as per their religion, caste and culture”. People celebrate National festivals like Independence Day, Republic Day as well as religion festivals like Dussehra, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Holi, Eid, Buddha Purnima, Christmas, New Year and many more. Holi is the festival of colors because people throw the color to each other in order to celebrate. Raksha Bandhan is a festival of the love and duty between brothers and sisters. It is to celebratebrother-sister relationship who may or may not be biologically related. “Sisters tie a sacred thread on her brother’s wrist, that symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her.” I don’t have brother but, I always tie tread in my sister wrist or my cousin. This thread is just not a simple thread because it reminds brother his responsibility to take always care, support, and protect his sister under all circumstance.
Diwali is also known as festival of light “as on this day every people, especially Hindus lighten up their home with light including candles and diyas (oil Lamp)” its celebrated in honors of Lord Ram. He returned to his kingdom, Ayodhys after spending 14 years in forest. “It’s celebrate in the mark of victory of good over evil”. “There is a tradition of worshiping Devi Lakshmi and Ganapati (elephant head God) on this day because it’s done for securing peace, prosperity, wealth and happiness. “People celebrate Dussehra festival to mark the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Rama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ravana was an evil demon. It signifiesthe victory of good over the evil. People go to see the famous folk play of Ram Lila. The story of Lord Rama is shown in the play.” “The epic Ramayana tells the story of the Lord Rama who wins the lovely Sita as his wife, only to have her carried off by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Ravana plays an important role in the Ramayana.”
Buddha Purnima celebrated actually for the eve of birth, enlightenment and passing into nirvana of Gautama Buddha. “On the day of Buddha Purnima, the devotees gather together in the Buddhist Temples to hoist the Buddhist flag. Temples are decorated beautifully. Flowers are offered to teachers. Devotees are encouraged to refrain from violence and to accept only vegetarian food. On this day, the Buddhist monks teach the teachings of Buddha. The devotees are encouraged to follow the teachings of the great master. The teachings of Gautama Buddha were simple. He asked his disciples to judge his teachings with their own intellect and then decide if they want to follow his teachings or not. The eight noble path of Buddha are of right belief, intent, speech, behavior, effort, livelihood, contemplation and concentration. Bodh Gaya is a sacred religious site in India. It is believed that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in Bode Gaya. Every year, many devotees from all over the world come to this place to celebrate Buddha Purnima.”
Art, literature, theater and film (world famous Bollywood films), and architecture have “flourished in India for centuries and they continue to flourish today”. The Ramayana is one of the oldest known epic works of literature. India has full of talents in the field of art or architecture includes paintings, rangoli, plastic arts like pottery, and textile arts like woven silk, etc. For examples including paintings of “Ajanta cave, Paintings of Ellora cave, etc. Rangoli” are the art generally made by the female members of the family. From ages, India has great number of architecture like “Rock-cut temples of Mahabalipuram, temples of Thanjavur, Kanchipuram” and many more. “It seems that wherever you turn in India you will come across a site of historic, natural or cultural importance”. “India is rich in heritage, and some of the main UNESCO world heritage sites in India are Taj Mahal: Tourists flock from all over the world to see this resplendent seventeenth century palace. The Great Himalayan National Park is world’s tallest mountain. “Agra Fort: The Yumana river flows serenely past this ancient fort in the state of Uttar Pradesh.” “Elephant Caves: Deep inside these spooky caves you will find elegant statues and designs carved by the human hand.”
Indian culture would remain incomplete if we do not discuss the various classical, fold dance forms, Music, clothing and Food. “The most popular Classical dance forms are Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Manipuri, etc.” “Folk dances are mainly performed in any occasion like birth of a child, festivals, harvesting seasons, wedding events, etc.” For Indians, music is to soul what food is to body. Since “Vedic period”, it has been capturing the heart and mind of every Indian. In the classical Indian music, there are basically two types of schools- the Hindustani Music (North) and the “Carnatic” Music (South). ‘Raga’ arrangement of musical notes is the key in the classical music. The Indian villages also have their special kind of music that carries colours of folk tradition. Music of Indian movies is also liked by the masses.
Indian clothing is closely identified with the colorful silk sarees worn by many of the country’s women. Different regions of India have different specialty and variety of sarees. In Punjab the traditional dress is Salwar Kameez and in Rajasthan it is Gagra Choli or also known as Lehenga. The traditional clothing for men is the dhoti, an unstitched piece of cloth that is tied around the waist and legs. Men also wear a kurta, a loose shirt that is worn about knee-length. For special occasions, men wear a sherwani, which is a long coat that is buttoned up to the collar and down to the knees.
When the Moghul Empire invaded during the sixteenth century, they left a significant mark on the Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine is also influenced by many other countries and It is known for large assortment of dishes and liberal use of herbs and spices. The most important parts of the Indian cuisine are rice, flour and an element called pulses. Pulses are red lentils, Bengal ram, pigeon pea, black gram and green gram. The variety in Indian spices like black pepper, coriander seeds, cardamom, saffron and cumin seeds not only enhance the flavor of the food but also add value to it. North India has chole bhature, tandoori chicken, rajma chawal, kadhi chawal, dhokla, daal baati churma and biryani to relish, South India is not behind in the race. From masala dosa, rava uttpam, rasam, sambar-lemon rice to toran, appam, meen; the South Indian cuisine has a great variety to offer. Many Hindus are vegetarians, but lamb, goat and chicken are common in main dishes for non-vegetarians. Hindu do not eat beef but, non-Hindu interpret these beliefs mean that Hindu worship cow which not true. The cow is thought to be sacred, deeply honor, respect and adore. In India most states have banned cow slaughter and almost 90% don’t prefer to eat. Both Hindu and Non Hindu do not prefer to eat pork.
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