Characteristics of Indian culture – Study Material
The culture of India refers collectively to the thousands of distinct and unique cultures of all religions and communities present in India. India’s languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differ from place to place within the country. Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinentand has been influenced by a history that is several millennia old. Many elements of India’s diverse cultures, such as Indian religions, philosophy, cuisine, languages, martial arts, dance, music and movies have a profound impact across the Indosphere, Greater Indiaand the world.
- Indian-origin religionsinclude Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism. all of which are based on the concept of dharma and karma. Ahimsa, a philosophy of nonviolence, is an important aspect of native Indian faiths whose most well known proponent was Gandhi who through civil disobedience brought India together against the British Raj and this philosophy further inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American civil rights movement.
- India has 29 states with different culture and 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 subcontinentand has been influenced and shaped by a history that is several thousand years old. Throughout the history of India, Indian culture has been heavily influenced by Dharmic They have been credited with shaping much of Indian philosophy, literature, architecture, art and music. Greater India was the historical extent of Indian culture beyond the Indian subcontinent.
- India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and other religions. They are collectively known as Indian religions.Indian religions are a major form of world religions along with Abrahamic 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.
- Indian philosophy comprises the philosophical traditions of the Indian subcontinent. There are six schools of orthodox Hindu philosophy—Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mīmāṃsāand Vedanta—and four heterodox schools—Jain, Buddhist, Ājīvika and Cārvāka – last two are also schools of Hinduism.
- The main schools of Indian philosophy were formalised chiefly between 1000 BCE to the early centuries of the Common Era. According to philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the earliest of these, which date back to the composition of the Upanishadsin the later Vedic period (1000–500 BCE), constitute “the earliest philosophical compositions of the world.
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.
- In a 1966 study, Orenstein and Micklin analysed India’s population data and family structure. Their studies suggest that Indian household sizes had remained similar over the 1911 to 1951 period. There after, with urbanisation and economic development, India has witnessed a break up of traditional joint family into more nuclear-like families.
Arranged Marriage :
- 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 jewellery and household goods that a bride could control throughout her life.
Wedding Rituals :
- 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.
- While there are many festival-related rituals in Hinduism, vivaha(wedding) is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. Typical Hindu families spend significant effort and financial resources to prepare and celebrate weddings. The rituals and process of a Hindu wedding vary depending on region of India, local adaptations, resources of the family and preferences of the bride and the groom. Nevertheless, there are a few key ritualscommon 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.
- India, being a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. The three national holidays in India, the Independence Day, the Republic Dayand 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, Pusnâ, Hornbill, Chapchar Kut, Pongal and Raja sankaranti swinging festival are also fairly popular.
- Islam in Indiais the second largest religion with over 172 million Muslims, according to India’s 2011 census. The Islamic festivals which are observed and are declared public holiday in India are; Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adha-(Bakri Eid), Milad un Nabi, Muharram and Shab-e-Barat. Some of the Indian states have declared regional holidays for the particular regional popular festivals; such as Arba’een, Jumu’ah-tul-Wida and Shab-e-Qadar..
- Greetings include Namaste (Hindi and Sanskrit), Namaskar (Hindi), Juhar/Namaskar in Odia, Namaskar (Marathi),Namaskara (Kannada), Namaskaram (Telugu, Malayalam), Vanakkam (Tamil), Nomoshkaar (Bengali), Nomoskar (Assamese), Aadab (Urdu), and Sat Shri Akal (Punjabi). 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. Namaskar is commonly used in India and Nepal by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, and many continue to use this outside the Indian subcontinent. In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of written or verbal communication.
- Other greetings include Jai Jagannath(used in Odia) Ami Aschi (used in Bengali), Jai Shri Krishna (in Gujarati and the Braj Bhasha and Rajasthani dialects of Hindi), Ram Ram/(Jai) Sita Ram ji (Awadhi and Bhojpuri dialects of Hindi and other Bihari dialects), and Sat Sri Akal(Punjabi; used by followers of Sikhism), As-salamu alaykum (Urdu; used by follower of Islam), Jai Jinendra (a common greeting used by followers of Jainism), Namo Buddha (used by followers of Buddhism), Allah Abho (used by followers of Bahá’í), Shalom aleichem (used by followers of Judaism), Hamazor Hama Ashobed (used by followers of Zoroastrianism), Sahebji (Persian and Gujarati; used by the Parsi people), Dorood (Persian and Guarati; used by the Irani people),
- The varied and rich wildlife of India has had a profound impact on the region’s popular culture. Common name for wilderness in India is Junglewhich was adopted by the British colonialists to the English language. The word has been also made famous in The Jungle Bookby Rudyard Kipling. India’s wildlife has been the subject of numerous other tales and fables such as the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales.
- In Hinduism, the cow is regarded as a symbol of ahimsa(non-violence), mother goddess and bringer of good fortune and wealth. For this reason, cows are revered in Hindu culture and feeding a cow is seen as an act of worship. This is why beef remains a taboo food in mainstream Hindu and Jain society.
- Hinduism, the cow is regarded as a symbol of ahimsa (non-violence), mother goddess and bringer of good fortune and wealth. For this reason, cows are revered in Hindu culture and feeding a cow is seen as an act of worship. This is why beef remains a taboo food in mainstream Hindu and Jain society.
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