India is one of the largest countries in the world and one that leaves no one indifferent. In fact, there are those who say that their way of facing life has changed, something that is not surprising considering everything that one can get to see for a few days if you leave the typical tourist routes in which you only shows how beautiful.
So that you make the most of your visit to India and know more about its culture, I recommend you pay attention to what I tell you in this article, since I will tell you about some of the most deeply rooted customs , which, as you will see, are capable of surprising To anybody.
The cow is sacred
In the same way that the elephant is the sacred animal in Thailand, in India it is very clear that cows have to be treated very special because they are sacred to Hindus . 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 to restore balance to the body and strengthen 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. Also, it must be said that wearing a bindi is also associated with marriage , as 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 have a lot of weight and there are other foods that they use frequently, such as rice, legumes (there are up to five varieties) and curries . Some of the most popular dishes are achars , lassi , rotis or flatbreads .
You should know that Hinduism is the most followed religion in India by far. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of the population is faithful to this religion, which is considered one of the oldest. The Brahman God 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 being exported to more countries where the Hindu population has an important weight. It is a Hindu festival that is celebrated 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 atmosphere in the form of gulal powders. It takes place to celebrate the victory of good over evil, since 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 Holiká, but also killed the king for believing that he was a divinity.
Don’t try hard to learn all the languages spoken in India because it will likely take more than one lifetime to achieve your goal. There are 30 languages with official recognition and it is estimated that there are still some 2,000 languages that have not been recognized. The official languages of the country are Indian and English, although it is true that in the Goa area Portuguese is usually spoken.
The typical greeting is known as Námaste and is used to say "hello" and "goodbye", as well as being used to thank and show respect. You have to bow your head with the palms of your hands closed and close to the chest as if you were praying.
Contrary to what you may think, Indian children also ask Santa Claus 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 that symbolizes prosperity and luck.
The typical dress
It’s called a sari and it’s made of silk. It is rolled up around 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 it is not allowed to enter with too much clothing that leaves too much meat exposed. Also, you have to take off your shoes to go barefoot. Although there are some tourists who do not respect it because they pass through the posters that are shown in English, you have to be understanding with the customs of a country where you are very well received from day one.
You will see that the Indians eat with their fingers, the right hand being the most used. In fact, it is customary to never use your left hand to give a gift. In any case you have to find it with both. Moreover, you cannot touch the food or drink of others.
As you probably already know, Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most popular characters in the history of India 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, it is considered as a Bāpu, which means father in Gujarati. Normal that his face can be seen in some of the bills that are in circulation.
As incredible as it may seem, in India there are still arranged weddings , which are arranged by parents 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%).
Recommended article: The most important cities in India.