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So today I will take you a little deeper into India and tell you about the Indian culture. So let’s get started.
India is one of the world’s oldest civilizations and one of the most populated countries in the world. The Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several various cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent and has been influenced and shaped by a history that is several thousand years old.
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions. Indian religions are a major form of world religions along with Abrahmic ones. Today, Hinduism and Buddhism are the world’s third and fourth-largest religions respectively, with over 2 billion followers altogether, and possibly as many as 2.5 or 2.6 billion followers. Followers of Indian religions – Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists make up around 80–82% population of India.
Family structure and marriage
For generations, India has a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It is when extended members of a family – parents, children, the children’s spouses and their offspring, etc. – live together. Usually, the oldest male member is the head in the joint Indian family system. He mostly makes all important decisions and rules, and other family members are likely to abide by them.
Arranged marriages have long been the norm in Indian society. Even today, the majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family-members. In the past, the age of marriage was young. The average age of marriage for women in India has increased to 21 years, according to 2011 Census of India. In 2009, about 7% of women got married before the age of 18.
In most of the marriages the bride’s family provide a dowry to the bridegroom. Traditionally, the dowry was considered a woman’s share of the family wealth, since a daughter had no legal claim on her natal family’s real estate. It also typically included portable valuables such as jewelry and household goods that a bride could control throughout her life.
an Indian(Hindu) bride
an Indian(Hindu) groom
Weddings are festive occasions in India with extensive decorations, colors, music, dance, costumes and rituals that depend on the religion of the bride and the groom, as well as their preferences. The nation celebrates about 10 million weddings per year, of which over 80% are Hindu Weddings.
There are a few rituals common in Hindu weddings – Kanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi; these are respectively, gifting away of daughter by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify impending union, and taking seven steps before fire with each step including a set of mutual vows. After the seventh step and vows of Saptapadi, the couple is legally husband and wife.
Greetings include Namaste (Hindi and Sanskrit), Namaskr (Hindi, Marathi), Juhar/Namaskar in Odia, Namaskara (Kannada), Namaskaram (Telugu, Malyalam), Vanakkam (Tamil), Nomoshkaar (Bengali), Nomoskar (Asamese). All these are common spoken greetings or salutations when people meet, and are forms of farewell when they depart. Namaskar is considered slightly more formal than Namaste but both express deep respect.
touching the feet of elders for blessings is also a tradition
India, being a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. The three national holidays are, the Independence Day, the Republic Day and the Gandhi Jayanti, are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm across India. In addition, many Indian states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Popular religious festivals include the Hindu festivals of Navratri, Janmashtami, Diwali, Maha Shivratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Holi, Rath Yatra, Ugadi, Onam, Vasant Panchami, Rakshabandhan, and Dussehra. Several harvest festivals such as Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Raja sankaranti swinging festivalare also fairly popular.
dahi handi on ocassion of Janmastami
The Diwali festival
kids celebrating holi
India has had a long romance with the art of dance. The Hindu Sanskrit texts Nātyaśāstra (Science of Dance) and Abhinaya Darpana (Mirror of Gesture) are estimated to be from 200 BCE to early centuries of the 1st millennium CE.
Drama and theater
Kathakali one of the classical theater forms from Kerela, India
Rasa lila theaterical performance in Manipuri style
Music is an integral part of India’s culture. Natyasastra, a 2000-year-old Sanskrit text, describes five systems of taxonomy to classify musical instruments. One of these ancient Indian systems classifies musical instruments into four groups according to four primary sources of vibration: strings, membranes, cymbals, and air. According to Reis Flora, this is similar to the Western theory of organology. Archeologists have also reported the discovery of a 3000-year-old, 20-key, carefully shaped polished basalt lithophone in the highlands of Odisha.
a painting of radha and krishna
There is so much more to Indian culture which cannot be explained in just on post. Check out my other post about India
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