Essay on traditions and cultures of India
When Indians greet, they say to each other “Namascar” or “Namaste”, which means approximately “I salute you God.” It is customary to fold the palms of his chest and bow. Tourists are usually greeted with “Hello” and waved or said “Good afternoon \ evening.”
India does not often shake hands and kisses and hugs are not accepted here. As greetings, the Hindus fold their palms together and say “Namaste” or “Ram”. However, many men can easily shake hands with you (if you are also a man). It is forbidden for a woman to shake hands, as well as to put a hand on a man’s or woman’s shoulder. It is customary to welcome one’s spiritual mentor or parents when bowing to their feet.
The right hand in India is considered pure. It is eaten (Indians do not use cutlery) unlike the left, which Indians use to wash after sending natural needs (they do not use toilet paper). Therefore, without causing a negative reaction of Indians to eat, take food, generally clean things, or take something from other people, to show, and even more so you can only welcome with the right hand.
Nothing to give and take with your left hand is a sign of disrespect. It is unnecessary to touch other people with this hand. Touching sacred images and other sacred objects in temples and places of worship is not allowed.
Sacred places – Buddhist and Hindu temples and monasteries, altars and interiors in them, gompa (a monument erected at the burial place of any shrine or event, sometimes just stones with inscriptions, sometimes structures like our chapels or ceilings), as well as ashrams (buildings where religious, yogic, or other communities are located), and all other places of religious or religious importance, you need to go around just to the right (clockwise, in the direction of the sun). This rule applies to everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs. When you enter such a room, and sometimes the territory of such places, you need to open the door, usually employees say this or it is written at the entrance.
By the way, the Hindus open up and at the entrance to the house. Indians in temple service usually sit either hunched over or in Turkish, turning their feet. During the service, you need to sit on a special mat or mat, or just on the floor. In this case, one can never sit so that the feet are turned to other people, it is considered an insult, not only in temples, but in general in public. After visiting the monasteries and temples, it was decided to leave some money. Europeans are only allowed to enter Buddhist temples and monasteries, and most Hindu temples are closed.
Indians prefer to keep their distance. It is not customary to touch a person’s body or clothing, such a gesture can be insulted. Obviously, this is based on caste traditions, whose imperatives are still existing. Indians unmistakably determine the belonging of a person to a certain class. Men and women (even spouses) behave extremely restrained in public, not even holding hands. It is impossible to stroke children on the head in any way, it is considered that this way the child can be severely harmed. In India, there is a cult of non-violence (ahimsa) that is manifested in both human and animal relationships. The level of violent crime is extremely low.
Cows (being sacred animals) quietly stroll through the driveways, disrupting the normal traffic. For example, a driver who beat a cow to death did not run away but burst into tears, and the police (sanction for killing a cow reaches 15 years in prison) did not hurry up with the handcuffs, patiently comforting him, because according to local performances such the collision ruined the driver several further lives. Dogs also enjoy freedom, and can be found in temples and government agencies. Monkeys are also particularly revered. Unlike cows, these animals are much more agile and can often become aggressive towards humans. Monkeys can surround you, demanding to get something edible.
Traditions in food. Table etiquette is practically the same for different ethnic groups in the country. Before the meal, and after its completion, it is necessary to wash hands, as well as in breaks between dishes – usually for this purpose each guest is served a bowl of warm water and lemon. The first one to start eating is the master or the elder of those present. Keep quiet during the meal. It is not necessary to use appliances – many Indian dishes, such as bread and curry, are accepted to be eaten by hands.
India is the birthplace of most known and little-known spices, and spices are the most important thing in Indian cuisine. Even ordinary rice or potatoes are eaten by the Indians. Up to several dozen spices are mixed in jewelry proportions. We also know coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and saffron, and exotic spices like asafetida, which we know as stinking ferrule.
The main thing is to choose from a condiment that does not burn your throat immediately and does not stop your appetite forever. One of the cups placed around the cake will certainly have soup dhal (dal). It is one of the Indians favorite foods: it is served both in the upscale restaurant and in the street eatery.
India is the birthplace of vegetarianism. Meat is scarce here for many reasons. First, for the religious: for Muslim Indians, let them have a little, pork – “dirty food”, and for Hindus, most of whom, is to eat beef – “like eating your mother.” Secondly, climate and economic: hot climate and minimum refrigerators per capita. Generous Indian land yields three to four crops of vegetables, fruits and beans per year. So Indians can understand – why resist nature if it so naturally inclines to vegetarianism? On holidays, for expensive guests and in expensive restaurants prepare dishes of poultry and goat.
Alcohol is widespread and expensive. Wine, in general, is not wine, but something like a fortified and sweetened compote. The beer is whitish, unpleasant in taste, but cheap. Tea at home “tea” is popular not less than ours, it is drunk with milk. There are a lot of sweets in India. The sweets are very boring and very specific. Indian cooking is as paradoxical as India itself. For example, the concept of cold and warm food Indian does not associate with the real temperature of the products. He can call cold food warm and vice versa. Rice, even just cooked, is cold, so it is cooked with shambhala (spicy seeds with the smell of mushrooms), which neutralizes the cold of the rice with its heat.
In India, attitudes toward old age have always been different. On the one hand, longevity, given its merit, gave it the right to respect and authority in the family and within the social group. Perfect service to the elderly parents is the main son of dharma (debt), which is why all Indian families look forward to the birth of sons, not daughters, who will be married and leave for another family.
Old age as a subjective category is related to self-assessment or self-assessment. Indian civil servants are obliged to retire for 58 years, university professors are allowed to teach up to 60.
The woman, and then her husband, with age, gradually eliminate from food all that carries with it “heat” – meat, fish, onions, garlic – and switch to cooling products: milk, some types of vegetables, fruits. Not immediately, but in stages, passing on to the hands of young family businesses and worries around the house, rural father-in-law and mother-in-law move to the periphery, although as long as they have the strength, they help with the household, look after grandchildren and act as arbitrators in disputes.
If in Indian villages patriarchal families consisting of representatives of several generations are still preserved and the elderly are surrounded by their native ones – not always attentive, sometimes frankly angry, but forced to heed the village rumors, then the urban clans split into nuclear eyes and people They are left alone with their problems: they suffer from a lack of love and are often deprived of their livelihood. Most aging Indians go to prayer daily visiting temples and reaching the same elderly community.
Sikhs. A special place in Sikh cult practice belongs to the common, common Sikh prayer. Sikh prayer can be performed by any Sikh; this tradition was instituted in order not to bring to life the whole class of priests with their claims to power. It can even be conducted by a woman, because Sikhism proclaims and enforces the equality of man and woman.
The pre-dawn prayer in the temple is one of the most sacred Sikh traditions. Through a common prayer in the Sikh temple, they welcome the coming of a new day, thank the Lord for a quiet night, and seek His blessings on the day’s work.
During the day, after the obligatory prayers, there is almost always an ardas. This kind of common prayer of the Sikh congregation, containing elements of the sermon, is carried out in all significant cases in the life of the congregation or its individual representative. In many cases, holding an ardas at the request of the Sikh or his family marks the important moments and points of transition of the human life path.
Varanasi is a city of death and burning which gives the Hindu some benefits in his future life. The burning is carried out in the crematorium on the shore. The crematorium also includes 3 hotels in which people who have come to die die. Burning is a complicated rite that involves washing, crying, praying, actually burning and dispelling ashes over the Ganges, which are not fully burned, just thrown in the middle of the river with cargo tied to their feet. Yet, people bathe in the Ganges, wash, do laundry, drink water and take water with them, believing that “the Ganges is a clean river. The dirt is dirty.”