Defining Culture And Its Factors Cultural Studies Essay

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This essay explaines what exactly is culture and its factors. Culture is the way of life of a particular society or group of people, including patterns of thought, beliefs, behavior, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, and language, as well as art, music, and literature. (Webster's New World Encyclopedia, 1992) Many countries have different cultures prevailing due to various religions combined together like India. There are around 8000 cultures all over the world, each one of them following different traditions, religions, languages etc. They evolve from social and religious views. Culture differs from country to country, India and China are two such countries having a diversified culture. Both these countries follow different religions, traditions, and languages.

First of all the factors being religion. In India, religion is an integral part of the entire Indian tradition. India is a secular country which serves home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other various religious traditions. Hinduism is the dominant faith followed by majority of the population. Each religion has its own pilgrimage sites, heroes, legends and even culinary specialties( Kiran et al, 2010). Whereas on the other hand China is a multi-religious country. Buddhism, Islamism, Taoism, Protestantism and Catholicism are religions which have developed in this country. Freedom of belief is a policy framed by the government and religious activities are protected by the constitution. Religious believers make up only a tiny proportion of the 1.3 billion Chinese people. No religion has ever assumed a dominant position in China.( China Highlights, 2010)

Cuisine culture in both the countries are popular all over the world. They are preferred almost everywhere.Indian food is as diverse as its culture. Good Indian cooking involves use of aromatic spices, other main ingredients of Indian cooking are milk products like ghee which is used as a medium of cooking and even curd or which is also known as dahi. Lentils or dals is the most common ingredient across the country and preferable almost everywhere in India. Vegetables differ with seasons, and the style of cooking them is dependent upon the cerial with which they are served. Whereas in Punjab Sarson ka saag which is made with mustard leaves is a perfect match to be eaten with makke kii roti known as maize bread. In Tamil nadu, rice and dal (lentil) is best eaten with fried vegetables( Kiran et al, 2010) . In China, each Geographical area has a distinct cooking style. Similar to India, china is divided into many geographical areas and because of this they have a diversified culture. Agricultural products of China are involved in making the ingredients. Wheat is the main ingredient and replaces rice as staple food.Cultural cuisine of china includes noodles and dumplings uses wheat as one of its ingredient, Northern china considers wheat as its main ingredient and because of that it adds to more tastiness and great variety. Most of the famous Chinese dishes served in international capitals, i.e., what is considered "Chinese Cuisine" abroad, belong, in fact, to the cuisine tradition of Southern China (China highlights, 2008).

Languages in both the countries are quite diversified . In India, around 33 different languages have been identified, but officially only have 22 recognized languages. Hindi is the official language of India, which is mentioned in the devanagari script whereas English is an associate official language. Sanskrit is the primary language of India and it is the source from where many languages have evolved including Hindi and Urdu which represents the highest achievement of the Indo - Aryan languages. It is the oldest language of India, which is more than 5000 years old(Suni Systems P Ltd, 2000). China is a vast nation boasting diversified nationalities and languages. With 56 ethnic groups, there are over 100 languages used in China, and there are countless local dialects( China highlights, 2009) Whereas about one-fifth of the world speaks forms of Chinese language as its native language. It is a language with most native speakers. Official language of china is their Chinese language in the mainland China and Republic of China on Taiwan. This particular language is one of the four official languages of Singapore and one of the six official languages in Hong Kong.Language in Hong kong is a bit of chinese and a mixture of English as well, whereas in Macao it is spoken together with Portuguese.

Festivals and celebrations is one of the most entertaining cultural factor, India is a secular country which presents a number of religions with their own cultural festivals and celebrations. Religions followed in India are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism which each one of them have their own festivals. But when it comes to celebrating each one of them, whole of India combines as one and celebrates together. Bright light, sweets, traditional dresses and colours are the characteristics of all festivals in India. Indian fair and festivals are attracted all over the world, reason being the spirit of Indians and universal brotherhood. Majority of the population being Hindus Celebrate festivals like Diwali (Festival of lights), Holi( Festival of colours). Others being Navratri, Ganesh chathurti. As India is a secular country, festivals like Eid and Christmas are also celebrated. Whereas Chinese traditional festivals other than being an important part of the lives' of the Chinese people they evem have an important part in playing a role in the commercial trade and communication. Farmers exchanging different products, goods, and the government also hold some grand activities are some of the characteristics of Chinese traditional festivals. Some of these festivals are namely Spring festival, Lantern festival, Dragon boat festival, Double ninth festival, Winter solstice festival and mid term festival.

This essay has helped me in understanding what exactly does culture mean, and how different people from different countries and nationalities follow their culture and tradition. China and India are the two diversified countries with different cultures followed due to geographical differences in the country and types of religions. Following their own religion, people also enjoy every culture followed all over the country.Therefore I would like to conclude that despite all the regional differences, people shouldn't tend to disrespect other religions. They should respect and enjoy other cultures as well.