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Indian Culture

The name India as we know it today was given by the British Empire to the country after replacing its earlier names Hindustan, and Bharat. India is a country that is rich in culture and heritage. Indian culture has been honed by its various civilizations, emperors, religions, geographical boundaries, languages etc. India is the best example of an ethnically and linguistically diverse nation. In other words, India is a melting pot of various cultures, religions & languages.

India: A Land Known for Its Traditions

Aditi Devo Bhava, Mata Pita Guru Daivam, etc. are some of the well- known sayings that uphold and portray Indian traditions at their best. These are some of the values that are ingrained in every Indian regardless of which state they are from or religious beliefs. Traditions and festivals, rituals, and lifestyles all are influenced greatly by Hinduism, which is considered the oldest religion. From the Indus Valley Civilization till today, India has come a long way to showing the world a true example of Unity in Diversity. Indians celebrate Eid, Christmas, Holi, Baisakhi and a trillion festivals regardless of religion, language or borders.

Exploring the Pillars of Indian Culture

Religion & Spirituality

As Annie Besant puts it “India is a country in which every great religion finds a home.” India is a country where people of all religions coexist and celebrate each other. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Islam and Christianity are two religions practiced in India but came to India from abroad.

Hinduism & Buddhism

Both these religions are based on karma (what you do), moksha (liberation), reincarnation, nirvana (enlightenment), and dharma (the right way of living). They also follow the practice of meditation (dhyanam, samadhi) and yoga. More than being a religion Hinduism and Buddhism are the ways of life. Hindu originally meant living on the banks of the river Indus. Buddhism founded by Siddhartha Gautama shows people how to live truthfully and spiritually to attain nirvana.

Jainism

Jainism was founded by Mahavira believes in Ahimsa (non- violence), and Satya (truth). They also believe that an eternal soul exists and people should not be attached to worldly pleasures and wealth.

Christianity

Christians follow monotheism (believe in one God). They believe in the heavenly father who sent Jesus, his son to teach people values such as Love, Forgiveness, Faith, and Compassion. Bible is their holy book.

Islam

'la ilaha illallah, Muhammad ur rasul ullah' (in Arabic) and translates: 'There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God' (in English). This is the core belief of Islam. They follow the Quran, their holy book, and also pray five times a day, help others, etc.

Festivals & Celebrations

“I am an Indian and we celebrate all festivals in every region of every religion. That is why it is called Incredible India” quotes Mr. Vinayak Muralidharan. When you live in a country like India, each day will be a festival. There are a multitude of festivals in India and each displays our traditions, culture, and spirit. Indians celebrate the same event with different names in different states. For example, Makar Sankranti marks the movement of the Sun from the South to the Northern Hemisphere and falls somewhere around January 14 th . This is celebrated as Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makaravilakk in Kerala, Lohri in Punjab, and Uttarayan in Gujarat. This shows that though the cultural difference is present, people celebrate the festivals in all states. Onam the harvest festival of Kerala lasts 10 days and is filled with flowers, colors, and floral decorations. Diwali the festival of lights fills the streets with lights and lanterns. Holi the festival of color is a feeling that you need to experience first-hand.

Art & Expressions:

We have read about how each state and each religion has its celebrations and festivals. The same is true for art forms. Each state has its art, music, and dance forms. For example, Bharatanatyam is the famous dance form of South India while we have Kathak in Northern India and Odissi in East India. The South Indians have Carnatic Music while the Northern States have Hindustani music. Similarly, there are art forms associated with religions. In Kerala Hindu temples hold Theyyam, Kathakali, Krishnan Attam, etc, while Christians have Margam Kali, Chavitt Nadakam etc. Muslims also have their art forms such as Oppana, Mappila Paattu, Duff Muttu, Arabana Muttu, etc. to name a few. Each state also has its differentiating painting techniques such as Madhubani Painting from Bihar, Tanjore Painting from Tamil Nadu, Mural Painting from Kerala, and Block Printing from Rajasthan.

Culinary Delights

Indian Cuisine is world-famous for its fragrant spices. The flavors and textures of India are its highlights. Regional differences are again in play here as you can see Dosas in the South, Roti and Dal Sabzi in the North, etc. Some of the world-famous Indian dishes are Dosa, Samosa, Kheer, Ladoo, Butter Chicken, Biriyani, etc.

Customs & Daily Life

“Namaste” or welcoming the guests to our house with folded hands is a daily habit of Indians. We say Namaste as a salutation to elders also. Indians believe in the benefits of eating with their hands. In India, eating with our bare hands is considered polite as well as a healthy habit. As per the dress code of Indians, this also depends upon the geographical boundaries of the people. In the South men mostly wear Dhotis while women wear Sarees. Putting jasmine flowers in their hair is also a tradition that South Indian women enjoy. Churidars, Salwars, and Kurtas can be seen mostly in the Northern states of India though saree is a preferred mode of dressing all over India. Indians earlier preferred the joint family system. Mrs. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan once addressed the question of Indians living with their parents and her answer is perfect to explain Indian thought on living together as a family. “It’s fine to live with your parents, because It’s also common in India, we don’t have to take appointments from the parents to meet for dinner.” As you can see here, we have tried to give you a glimpse of the Indian culture. We at Hidden Mantra, hope to present to you more on the wide array of Indian culture that you wish to read and learn.
Indian Culture

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Quotes

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