The ancient Indian culture is one of the most, particularly as it intertwines a deep sense of diversity and spiritual recognition. The unifying spirit of Indian culture shines like the vast panorama of different languages, religions, food, clothing, or temperament. Deeply rooted in artistic expression in the realm of architecture, dance, music, and movies, Indian culture reflects tolerance above all. The touching hospitality India is known for makes the margin with its contrasts. The poorest people of India seem to be the most generous, which underlines the simplicity we should all accept as our lifestyle. The ancient system of caste is much less recognizable today, but the extreme inequalities of people define the lifestyle of India.
What makes Indian culture special?
The spirit of celebration
Famous festivals like Diwali or Holi have been an inviting and mesmerizing point to attract visitors. Characterizing the Indian way of life celebrations are numerous, mostly belonging to religious reasons. Every day has a festive vibration where each moment praises life with the number of glorious holidays.
The most recognized Indian festival holds the exclusive meaning of highlighting the Light and following it in the struggle against the darkness.
This religious holiday brings millions of Hindus upon rich celebrations in every aspect of light. Thousands of light decorations and special clothes, lovely sweets carry the unifying spirit of Indian families for five days in November. The exact day changes each year.
Diwali festival is dedicated to the Sri Maha Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and abundance. Pujas represent the main topic of celebrations, while the third day is the most significant.
Holi or Festival of colors is a celebration of joy, spring, and an incredibly fun way of greeting life. Happening in March Holi festival is all about coloring each other and even sometimes pouring water with water guns or water balloons.
The religious tradition stands behind as Holi signifies new beginnings and a colorful future. The battle of good over evil is a hidden purpose intertwined into Hindu celebration.
Some the other major Indian festivals include:
Durga Puja- Bengal Festival dedicated to the Goddess Durga, which makes Kolkata exceptional;
Janmashtmi- means celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, which is mainly happening at His birthplace, Vrindavan;
Ganesh Chaturthi- Lord Ganesha is celebrated for being drowned in the sea;
Raksha Bandhan- one of the popular festivals in India celebrating brother-sister relations;
Bihu Festival- it’s a festival of the harvest in April when dance and music prevail;
The Maha Shivaratri- a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, has a special significance for marital happiness, happening on 14.03.
The importance of family
Family plays an important role in Indian life, linking all the generations under one roof. Uncles and aunts are considered parental relations. Families are part of wider communities in India, defining the proper contribution of each member.
The concept of the Indian family is known as the joint family, where the patriarchal concept dominates.
Nothing speaks about a country more than its food and Indian food can be described in three points: as spicy, lots of lentils and rice, but let’s not forget awesome desserts and fruits. Bengal is the cradle of delicious Indian desserts.
Food varies between North and South but India north is known as the most vegetarian country in the world. Chai is a favorite drink of Indians, the wonder of spices in one cup.
Lots of fried food and specialties of dough with vegetables don’t create healthy choices but surprise with creativity. Rice deserves the title of queen as it’s pretty unavoidable at each meal.
India is the land where eating with fingers will teach everyone the simplicity of life. The common habit says that everything on the table should be eaten.
Though India has some unique, curative plants, the most common dishes are not native-like potatoes, chilies, or tomatoes.
Spirituality of Indian lifestyle
Spirituality is not only in temples, it’s in the traditional greetings Namaste or Namaskar, which salutations Divine, which is an everyday Hello. It’s inside one of the oldest languages in the world- the ancient Sanskrit.
India is home to many religions, but spirituality lies in the essence of their tolerance, to the simple nature of universal truths like chakras, the law of karma, or the ancient practice of yoga.
Yoga is the synonym of India just because this ancient wisdom developed harmoniously in this wonderful country.
Spirituality means an evolution of your inner self to become one with the Divine. The Vedas show us the rich wisdom of life, death, and the meaning of the proper path, including discipline. Vedic wisdom became deeply intertwined into the marvels of art, music, and dance.
Devotion or Bhakti experienced the highest level in the realm of spirituality. The bliss of Ananda is the ultimate fulfillment of life in opposition to the happiness that tends to be limited.
India has been a state where Hinduism prevails but various examples of Buddhism, Jainism and Islamism show true harmony beyond religion.
Temples of India describe one aspect of the rich contrasts that the ancient heritage created. A life full of elegance and artistic images lies at the core of magic India. India is surviving with a high level of contrast, of constant delay linked with the various measurements of time, illuminating its majestic history.
The cow as the holy animal, deserves a privileged status, it signifies the abundance of Mother Earth. Cows are often seen to walk freely across the streets of any city just like cats, which might add to the cultural shock to western people. Vedic scriptures underline the holy meaning of the cow, especially in rural India.
Dresses in India
The extreme popularity of Sari is proof that clothes create mankind as Indian women become deeply elegant and gorgeous. Sari is worn everywhere, even at the simple promenade.
This colorful Indian dress that covers only the right shoulder expresses a spirit free of Dharma attachment. It’s believed that wearing a sari reduces negative energy and helps to attain spiritual bliss.
Sari represents a traditional Hindu culture that is used during weddings (usually in red color) or other celebrations but also informal events. The main part of a sari is a palu, which resembles a scarf and covers the chest.
Not only sari, but Indian dresses also come in various shapes and numbers. Some of the most popular are:
Mekhela Sador- is something similar to the sari, worn by Assamese women;
Salwar Kameez- is a typical dress of Punjab characterized by a pair of trousers and a tunic top;
Anarkali Suit- is a long shirt shaped like a dress usually worn for different celebrations in the North of India;
The three most popular fashion items in India except sari include dhoti and Lehenga Choli.
Dhoti is traditional men’s clothing consisting of long trousers wrapped around the waist. It is mostly worn without a shirt.
Lehenga Choli is the most popular in Northern India, making it the essential wardrobe of every woman in India. It’s actually a long wrinkled skirt set apart from others by painted motive or fabric. Together with the blouse name choli, it represents this traditional clothing.
A very popular item is also a pagri or Indian turban that can be classified into many different types and colors. It is a way to represent social or religious status or even the caste.
With 28 states and no official language, India is a puzzle of traditions and tolerance. Hindi is still recognized as the official language of the government since 2010, though it’s spoken only by 58% of inhabitants.
Sanskrit, as the most ancient language in the world, holds a special spiritual meaning, a language in which the wisdom of the Vedas can be understood. It derives from Northern Indian and has many similarities with Bengali, even with English or French.
Most Indian languages have their roots in Sanskrit but vast differences between them created English as another official language and katalysator of this vast panorama. The British influence of India can be seen in Kolkata and southern India, especially Mumbai.
The fascinating unity of Indian culture developed the wonderful panorama woven of personal identity and historical influence. Not counting the dialects, three major linguistic groups shaped India’s mirrorless understanding. These are Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, and Mundari. Once Urdu was an official language as Persian and Arabic influences made the silent traces.
Arranged marriage system
Though the arranged marriage system is not prevalent as it was in the past, this ancient tradition created the mirror of the Indian lifestyle. Existing from Vedic times it originated in royal families and nowadays still influences 85% of the Indian families.
The parent’s choice is not a magic stick but an exquisite process lasting several months or even years. The role of the bride or groom is just to show up at the wedding ceremony.
Defining factors that come into the game are: religion, caste, horoscope, culture, professional status and physical appearance. Nowadays, computers and matching sites create the traditional procedure.
Dance has been an ancient practice of Indian celebration, transcending deep, spiritual messages and dramatic feelings. Every state of India has its own dances but only six of them have national value: Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, and Odissi.
Dance and religion are closely linked together as the silent expressions of emotion are very vivid. The creativity of movements conveys a story that needs no words.
It is believed that dance is God’s creation while Shiva created the dynamic struggle in the form of a dance named Tandava. Krishna was happily surrounded by His devotees who empowered Him through the dance.
From the performance in the temples to the rock decorations, dance has shown its unifying secret.
Kathak as the most performed dance in western society, comes from Uttar Pradesh in Northern India is known as the dance of love. Ankle expressions create the charm that resonates with the music and story.
Astrology, Bollywood, and cricket
The way to understand India and find the common topic is to point out its entertainment life. Cricket was brought to India in 1721 by British people and has developed into their favorite sport.
Bollywood has been a template for fashion and influenced the clothing industry and jewelry production. Bonding Bollywood movies with dance and music has shaped the relaxing time of locals.
Bollywood movies made Hollywood lack behind producing the scenes of romance to identify with.
Jyotish or Indian astrology is deeply linked with karma. Through the Vedas, their lives were greatly influenced by planets and stars, making Indian culture even more representative.
The art of bargaining
Something you have to accept in India while learning to pass by under the hordes of sellers is the art of bargaining, which you can also ignore. The secret behind adjusting to a negotiable price is the Indian culture it’s woven with. Everything in India is set up for bargaining, including vegetables, clothes, or taxi rides, but the main point is to do it with a smile.
Cultural Significance in Anthropology
The culture of India is rich with heritage, expressions of art and lifestyle that tends to have its own everyday wisdom. Spirituality is its deepest point of attraction, which brings visitors as ancient wisdom built a reputation.
The tolerance that exists among different languages and religions is the most amazing teacher, the way India copes with inequalities. The unifying spirit of India shows the most efficient way to live together, just as Indian families carry strong bonds.
Magic India knows the elegance of its artistic expressions, the special architecture that belongs only to India. Magic India knows the way to entertain on different levels and understand the core of simple life. That simple life belongs to people that eat only with their hands, that know how to bargain just to keep the conversation. Magic India leaves no judgment to the hospitality it gives and the way to be one with devotion.
Elegance comes with the way that inner beauty speaks to the outside world just like clothing speaks of traditions and moments to live with colors. The colorful world of India is literally point of attraction where the celebrations don’t know the boundaries.
India’s rich heritage touches every aspect of life where family lies in its essence. Defining the success of marriage becomes more a point of choice as the leading factor in decisions that live autonomously.
Indian cuisine, just like its way of life is full of differences. Though mostly vegetarian, in the country where the ocean meets mountains natural surroundings define the rules.
Indian culture is the unique blend of history, wisdom, art, entertainment, and respect for the family.
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One thought on “Anthropology: Cultural Abundance of Indian Traditions”
A wonderful article. The anthropological issues are presented very lucidly. excellent