India is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The Indian culture and traditions are unique and set us apart from the rest of the world.
The vast land has many different people, traditions, ways of life, and so much more. But the core of all this is diversity is the Unity that we see in the way our cultural traditions and practices bind us. These traditions are our heritage; they keep us tethered and attached. No matter which part of the country we come from or what language we speak, these traditions bind and keep us together.
We List Some of These Indian Cultures and Traditions for You.
1. Namaste – Our Way of Greeting
Namaste or namaskar is the way we Indians meet and greet people. We smile, and with folded hands and a bowed head, we make people feel welcome. It is a way to respect and honour a person and has nothing to do with the time of the day.
This gesture means ‘ Bowing to you.”
This greeting is one of the five traditional greetings mentioned in the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas.
Well-known figures like Barack Obama and Ban-ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, have often adopted this gesture.
2. Our Festivals
Being vast and diverse, we celebrate various festivals throughout the year. The list is endless, from Lohri and Baisakhi to Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Diwali, Durga Puja, Id, Onam, and Christmas. And what is more, the festivals are celebrated by every Indian with equal joy and fervour. Even the ones who live abroad cannot do without these celebrations. The celebrations are about colour, lights, family and friends.
3. Our Families
Family ties are very strong in our culture. Respect for elders is ingrained in us. All special occasions, whether festivals, marriages, births or other celebrations, are about being together with the family. Though the joint families of the past have given way to nuclear families, we find reasons to be together. In joy, sickness or health, we are together.
4. Our Monuments
No matter which part of the country you are in, you will have no dearth of architectural wonders to choose from. Our architecture is rooted in our history, culture and religion. Whether you are in the North, East West, South or central part, each state and each part of the country has something to offer. Is it a wonder that people from different parts of the world flock to our country to look at these monuments and understand their history? The architecture ranges from Hindu to Mughal to Rajput to Indo-Saracenic. The country is dotted with palaces, forts, temples, mosques and more.
5. Our Languages
A country that is so diverse with such different people has to have a diverse language structure, too. While the country has 22 official languages, it is home to 121 other languages and 270 mother tongues. It is also home to the world’s oldest language, Hindi.
The languages include English, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujrati, Dogri, and Marathi, to name a few.
6. Our Cuisine
The diversity of the land is what makes our country so different, and our cuisine is no different. Every region of the country has something unique to offer, a signature dish with a mix of spices and herbs. Even the style of cooking varies. There is also diversity in terms of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. While vegetarian food is an integral part of South Indian, Gujrati and Rajasthani cuisines, non-vegetarian dishes are a central part of Bengali, Punjabi and North Indian cooking.
Some cuisines, like Kashmiri cuisine, have been influenced by cooking styles from Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan.
7. Our Attire
Colours, textures, weaves and accessories make our clothing unique and different. There is an immense variety present in our country. The most common attire for women remains the saree, along with their regional dresses. For men, kurta pyjama is the most popular form of dressing. We love dressing up, especially during weddings, festivals and family get-togethers.
8. Our Mythology
Most of our myths and legends have been derived from two of our greatest epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and our ancient texts, the Puranas. The epics highlight human values of sacrifice, loyalty, love, devotion and truth. They signify the triumph of good over evil.
9. Our Dances
We, as a country, are a symbol of Unity in diversity, and our various dance forms amply demonstrate this. Different regions of the country have different forms which they use to celebrate and show their devotion to the various gods and goddesses.
If Punjab has the Bhangra, Tamil Nadu has the Bharatnatyam, Kerala has the Kathakali, Odisha has the Odissi, Gujrat has the Garba, and Manipur has the Manipuri again, to name a few.
10. Our Customs
Our country has many customs which make us different from the rest of the world, but there are some which are distinct-
- Atithi Devo Bhavah- For Indians, our guest is equivalent to god. This Sanskrit phrase shows our respect and regard for our guests.
- Eating with Hands- In many parts of the country, people do not use any form of cutlery to eat their food. They chose to use their fingers for this, especially in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country. In North India, hands are used while eating the roti.
The cultural diversity in India is what makes us special and distinctive.