The India is one of the largest countries in the world and one of those who do not leave anyone indifferent. In fact, there are those who say that their way of coping with life has changed, something that is not surprising considering everything that one can get to see for a few days if one leaves the typical tourist tours in which only shows how pretty.
To make the most of your visit to India and learn more about its culture, I recommend paying attention to what I am telling you about in this article, as I will tell you about some of the customs more deeply rooted, which as you will see are capable of surprising anyone.
The cow is sacred
In the same way that the elephant is the sacred animal in Thailand, in India they are very clear that cows must be given very special treatment because they are sacred to hindu. It is revered as a source of food and a symbol of life. So don't expect to find beef in supermarkets.
The famous red dot on the forehead
You probably already know that the red dot that many women wear on their foreheads is called a bindi. It is placed at the level of the eyebrows, between the eyes, and we could say that it is a characteristic element of Indian culture that is related to Ayurveda, which is the term used to define traditional Indian medicine, which is based on restoring balance to the body and strengthening it .
The bindi is considered to be like a third eye, a chakra that acts as an energy point capable of being activated when the woman enters the meditation phase to facilitate both concentration and relaxation. In addition, it must be said that wearing a bindi also is associated with marriage, since only married women wear it. In fact, in the past, a custom was ingrained that consisted of the groom drawing the bindi with his own blood, an unequivocal sign that the union was going to be eternal. Today Indians prefer to use makeup or a small sticker.
As far as culinary customs are concerned, India benefits from its multiculturalism to offer the most varied dishes. Of course, the most common is to use spices to season any recipe. Vegetables are very heavy and there are other foods that they frequently turn to, such as rice, legumes (there are up to five varieties) and curry. Some of the most popular dishes are the achars, the lassi, the rotis or the chapatis.
You should know that Hinduism is the most followed religion in India by far. In fact, it is calculated that a 80% of the population It is faithful to this religion that is considered one of the oldest. The God Brahman is the only god, the beginning of the universe. Despite this, it must be said that within the Hindu religion there is atheism, pantheism, theism ...
Recommended article: Benares, the holiest city in Hinduism.
Surely you have seen it on more than one occasion, since over the years it is exporting to more countries where the Hindu population has a significant weight. It's about a Hindu festival held in spring, although in other countries such as Spain they organize it during other months of the year such as July. It is a joyous celebration that stands out for the explosion of bright and vivid colors that take over the environment in the form of gulal powders. It takes place to celebrate the victory of good over evil, as Hindu tradition tells us that Joliká, sister of King Hiranyakashipu who tried to assassinate Prince Prahlada, died burned in the flames thanks to the god Vishnu, who not only ended with Joliká, but also killed the king for believing himself to be a divinity.
Don't make an effort to learn all the languages spoken in India because you will probably need more than one life to achieve your goal. There is 30 languages with official recognition and an estimated 2,000 languages still remain to be recognized. The country's official languages are Indian and English, although it is true that Portuguese is usually spoken in the Goa area.
The typical greeting is known as Namaste and it is used to say "hello" and "goodbye", in addition to being used to thank and show respect. You have to bow your head with your palms closed and glued to your chest as if you were praying.
Unlike what you may think, Indian children also ask Santa for their gifts. It is celebrated with great intensity despite being a christian celebration, although always leaving room for Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, and Ganesha, who is an elephant-headed deity symbolizing prosperity and luck.
The typical dress
Is named sari and it is made of silk. It rolls up the body and can be of different colors.Normally the fabric measures between 4.5 and 8.2 meters in length by 1 and 1.2 meters in width. The sari, whose term comes from the Indian and means dress, was already used thousands of years before Christ.
You cannot access the temples in any way, since you are not allowed to enter with clothes too much that leaves too much meat exposed. Also, you have to take off your shoes to go barefoot. Despite the fact that there are some tourists who do not respect it because they pass the signs displayed in English, it is necessary to be understanding of the customs of a country where they welcome you very well from the first day.
You will see that the Indians eat with their fingers, being the right hand the one most used. In fact, it is customary never to use your left hand to give a gift. In any case it is necessary to give it with both. Furthermore, you cannot touch the food or drink of others.
As you probably already know, Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most popular characters in Indian history for being a great defender of human rights. For this reason, and for achieving that India became independent from Great Britain a year before dying, he is considered a Bāpu, which means father in Gujaratí. Normal that his face can be seen in some of the banknotes that are in circulation.
Incredible as it may seem, India is still celebrated arranged weddings, which are what parents arrange based on their interests. Marriage is something they take very seriously, to the point that the divorce rate is only 1% (in Spain it is 60%).
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Indian Customs : A journey of Excellence (February 2023)