Culture of India

The culture of India is the way of living of the people of India. India’s languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differ from place to place within the country. The Indian culture, often labeled as an amalgamation of several cultures, spans across the Indian subcontinent and has been influenced by a history that is several millennia old.[1][2] Many elements of India’s diverse cultures, such as Indian religions, yoga and Indian cuisine, have had a profound impact across the world.

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Religions

India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions.[4] Indian religions are a major form of world religions along with Abrahamic ones. Today, Hinduism and Buddhism are the world’s third and fourth-largest religions respectively, with over 2 billion followers altogether,[5][6][7] and possibly as many as 2.5 or 2.6 billion followers.

India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion plays a central and definitive role in the life of many of its people.

According to the 2011 census, 78.35% of the population of India practice Hinduism. Islam (14.88%), Christianity (2.5%), Sikhism (1.9%),Buddhism (0.8%) and Jainism (0...

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Perceptions of Indian culture

India’s diversity has inspired many writers to pen their perceptions of the country’s culture. These writings paint a complex and often conflicting picture of the culture of India.

According to industry consultant Eugene M. Makar, for example, traditional Indian culture is defined by a relatively strict social hierarchy. He also mentions that from an early age, children are reminded of their roles and places in society.[18] This is reinforced, Makar notes, by the way many believe gods and spirits have an integral and functional role in determining their life. Several differences such as religion divide the culture. However, a far more powerful division is the traditional Hindu bifurcation into non-polluting and polluting occupations...

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Family structure and marriage

For generations, India has had a prevailing tradition of the joint family system. It is a system under which 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 makes all important decisions and rules, and other family members 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. Thereafter, with urbanisation and economic development, India has witnessed a break up of traditional joint family into more nuclear-like families...

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Festivals

India, being a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions. The three national holidays in India, the Independence Day, the Republic Day and theGandhi 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, Diwali, Maha Shivratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga puja, Holi, Ratha-Yatra, Ugadi, Rakshabandhan, andDussehra. Several harvest festivals such as Sankranthi, Pongal and Raja sankaranti swinging festivalNuakhai” are also fairly popular.

Indian New year festival are celebrated in different part of India with unique style in different t...

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Cuisine

Food is an integral part of every human culture. Chang notes that the importance of food in understanding human culture lies in its infinite variability – a variability that is not essential for species survival. For survival needs, people everywhere could eat the same and some simple food.[59] But human cultures, over the ages, experiment, innovate and develop sophisticated cuisines. Cuisines become more than a source of nutrients, they reflect human knowledge, culture, art and expression of love.

Indian food is as diverse as India. Indian cuisines use numerous ingredients, deploy a wide range of food preparation styles, cooking techniques and culinary presentation...

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Clothing

Traditional clothing in India greatly varies across different parts of the country and is influenced by local culture, geography, climate and rural/urban settings. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such assari for women and dhoti or lungi or panche (in Kannada) for men. Stitched clothes are also popular such aschuridar or salwar-kameez for women, with dupatta (long scarf) thrown over shoulder completing the outfit. Salwar is often loose fitting, while churidar is a tighter cut.[71] For men, stitched versions include kurta-pyjamaand European-style trousers and shirts for men. In urban centres, people can often be seen in jeans, trousers, shirts, suits, kurtas and variety of other fashions.

In public and religious places, Indian dress etiquette discourages exposure of skin an...

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Languages and literature

History

Language families in India and its neighbouring countries. India has 22 official languages – 15 of which are Indo-European. The 2001 census of India found 122 first languages in active use. The second map shows the distribution of the Indo-European languages throughout the world.

Rigveda (padapatha) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction (“śrīgaṇéśāyanamaḥ ;; Aum(3) ;;”), the first line has the opening words of RV.1.1.1 (agniṃ ; iḷe ; puraḥ-hitaṃ ; yajñasya ; devaṃ ; ṛtvijaṃ). The Vedic accentis marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red.

Literary records suggest India had interacted in languages of other ancient civilisations. This inscription is from Indian emperor Ashoka, carved in...

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Performing arts

Dance[edit]

Main article: Dance in India
Let drama and dance (Nātya, नाट्य) be the fifth vedic scripture. Combined with an epic story, tending to virtue, wealth, joy and spiritual freedom, it must contain the significance of every scripture, and forward every art.— First chapter of Nātyaśāstra, sometime between 200BC – 200AD[108][109]

India has had a long romance with the art of dance. Nātyaśāstra (Science of Dance) and Abhinaya Darpana(Mirror of Gesture) are two surviving Sanskrit documents, both estimated to be between 1700 to 2200 years old.[109]

The Indian art of dance as taught in these ancient books, according to Ragini Devi, is the expression of inner beauty and the divine in man.[110] It is a deliberate art, nothing is left to chance, each gesture seeks to com...

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