In this article, we have identified 20 amazing cultures, customs and traditions of India unique to our country.
16 unique customs and traditions in Indian culture:
Now let’s see the different customs and traditions followed in Indian culture and their specialties:
Indians use “Namaste” as a traditional way of greeting people by joining the palms of the hands with the fingers facing up and bowing slightly with a smile on the face. This respectful gesture is called the Anjali Mudra, a form of non-verbal communication to show respect, politeness and honor to others. The meaning of Namaste is “I bow to the divine in you” because we Indians believe in the principle “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”. This unique Indian custom caught the attention of even international leaders during the time of the pandemic, as it was considered the safest, contactless means of greeting in the world.
2. Traditional clothing:
India has a great cultural diversity in terms of traditional clothing. The many religions, social practices and local weather conditions have influenced the design and fabric of clothing. No matter how modern people’s outlook is, their love for traditional outfits never dies. In fact, Indians wait for special occasions like weddings and festivals to showcase the unique clothing of their culture. From saris to ghagra cholis, from dhotis to kurta pajamas, one can notice a wide range of clothing in India.
The most amazing aspect of Indian culture is how people of different religions live together in harmony. There are around 7 religions followed in India including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. Of these, Hinduism is the main religion, followed by around 79.8% of the total population, followed by Islam which accounts for 14.2% of the followers. The concept of “living together but apart” is the most beautiful part of India, because there is love, respect and tolerance for other religions.
Different religions give rise to different cultures and practices, as well as different sets of festivals that mark important days. There are many important festivals which are not only important for a particular religion but also celebrated as intercultural events. Some of them are Diwali. Eid, Christmas, Holi, Baisakhi, Rakhi, Mahavir Jayanti and Buddha Purnima. In addition, there are many tribal festivals celebrated among the different tribal groups of India, the most important of which are the hornbill festival (Nagaland), the Bhagoria festival (Madhya Pradesh), the Sammakka Sarakka Jathara (Telangana) etc. .
Another remarkable aspect of Indian culture is fasting or abstinence from food for a particular day or period. Regardless of religion, people believe that fasting is a way to cleanse the body of toxins and toxic thoughts to bring them closer to supreme power. Hindus fast on auspicious days like Karva Chauth, Shiva Rathri, Nav Rathri, Eka Dashi, etc. Muslims fast completely for 30 days during the holy month of Ramadan, which involves complete abstinence from food, water, and even saliva. Christians fast for 40 days before Christmas, which is called the Lent period.
6. Places of worship:
With so many religions and belief systems in India, there should be different places of worship as well. These places are centers of spirituality and devotion where people, regardless of economic status or location, come together to worship God. Examples of such places are temples (Hindus), mosques (Muslims), churches (Christians), monasteries (Buddhism), etc. People treat these structures as sacred places, where idols or images of God (except in mosques) are worshiped in different ways. . It is important to take off your shoes before entering these sacred shrines to prevent dirt from spoiling the sacredness of the place.
Food is a major part of Indian culture and is considered a godsend. The country is a foodie’s paradise as each region boasts of a local cuisine unique to the place. The ingredients and cooking techniques vary widely depending on whether we are from north to south. The staple foods in North India are Roti, Dal, Saag, Chole Bhature, Dhokla, Butter Chicken etc. while in South India one can enjoy a crispy dosa , filter coffee, traditional thali, etc. and savory dishes like Pani puri, Gulab Jamun, Samosa Ragada, Pav Bhaji, etc., which are enjoyed even by foreigners.
8. Eating with your hands:
According to traditional Indian culture, eating with bare hands is very good for our health. Using your hands while eating allows you to understand the temperature and texture of the different foods served on the plate. This activity activates the “hunger” signal in your brain, which signals your stomach to start producing digestive enzymes. According to the ancient principles of Ayurveda, the practice of eating with five fingers of our hands allows us to stay in tune with the five elements of nature. Besides, it becomes easy to combine different flavors with your hand and enjoy a healthy meal.
9. Old architecture:
India is home to many architectural wonders which were built with the most advanced technologies during the ancient period. Many temples and ancient structures feature ornate carvings with intricate detail to showcase the lost culture as well. Some of them even have science-defying constructions that leave today’s techies in awe. Some of these ancient architectural and technical wonders are Ellora Temple, Hampi, Konark Sun Temple, Khajuraho, Konark Sun Temple, Mahabalipuram Temples, etc. to name a few -a.
One of the important aspects of Indian culture is its linguistic diversity comprising several languages ââand dialects. According to a survey carried out in 2011, there are approximately 121 major languages ââand 1,599 minor languages. Another official report states that there are around 19,500 native languages ââspoken in India, which is one of the largest in the world. Each Indian state has an official language which is concentrated locally, with a few exceptions which are also spoken in other states. Among these languages, Hindi is the most widely spoken language, with Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil occupying the following positions.
11. Epics and Mythology:
India has many epics and mythologies which form the founding texts of its culture. The two greatest epics are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata which are written in Sanskrit and later translated into many regional and foreign languages. Both epics are about life and war stories that unfolded over two time periods – Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga. These are not just stories but historical events that teach us many spiritual and life lessons. Apart from these two, there is a compilation of the sacred texts called Chaturveda or the Four Vedas which prescribe all the rules and guidelines to be followed in order to be a perfect human being.
Weddings are the main part of Indian culture as they mark the beginning of a new phase for two individuals. Unlike in Western countries where weddings are strictly a private matter, Indian weddings are celebrated in full size and a guest list can sometimes cross 1000 people. Religion and local traditions shape the customs and rituals of marriage which can take place over a period of 3 to 5 days. There are many events like Haldi, Mehndi, Bridal Shower, Reception, Sangeet etc. in which the two families meet and bond well. You can expect to find larger-than-life venues with ornate decorations, elaborate menus, and women showing off expensive jewelry.
13. Traditional sports:
Many people think that cricket and badminton are the only two main sports in India. This is far from true! India is home to many sports which have influenced many modern athletics and Olympic sports. These sports are true icons of Indian culture as they bring people from different communities together and improve their way of life. Some of the famous Indian traditional sports are Mallakhamb, Silambam, Jallikattu, Vallam Kali or Snake Boat Race, Kabaddi, Pehelwani or wrestling and traditional martial arts like Kalari Payattu and Thang Ta.
14. Family structure and values:
Mixed families, where two to three generations of family members live under one roof, are the preferred types of families in Indian culture. A typical mixed family consists of 20 to 30 people of different age groups and mentalities. It is surprising how close family relationships are despite huge generation gaps. Structurally, these families include grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and sometimes even distant relationships.
15. Visual arts:
There are many forms of visual art in India that represent the traditional cultures and traditions of the country. These art forms have been passed down from generation to generation with minimal modifications to preserve their original nature. Indian arts are synonymous with rich colors, artistic patterns and skillful representations of our daily experiences. Some of the main art forms are carvings, paintings, pottery, textile arts, weavings, etc. which are unique to specific geographic regions and cultures of India.
16. Performing arts:
The performing arts have a major importance in Indian culture and are the main forms of entertainment in ancient times when there was no technology. In addition to providing recreation from mundane activities, the performing arts have allowed artists to express themselves and be moved in creative and engaging ways. The four main forms of performing arts in India are dance, music, drama, and film. Each art form is based on a particular story or sequence that is conveyed to the audience through bodily movements, songs or expressions.
Indian culture is such a broad term that it is difficult to identify a few under the subject. The country with the oldest civilization in the world exhibits a massive cultural diversity that is second to none in the world. What do you think are other unique aspects of Indian culture?