Indian culture is considered as one of the most "oldest living civilization of Earth." The traditions of India dates back to 8000 BC and it has a recorded history of more than 2,500 years. India’s religions, languages, dance, music, architecture, cuisine differ from one state to another. But they have a commonality in them. The Indian culture is a mixture of these different sub-cultures spread all across the states. Indian religion, yoga and Indian cookery have a great impact throughout the world.
The first authentically developed civilization of India emerged in Indus valley in 2700 B.C.E. The civilization disappeared by around 1500 B.C.E. and after that the country witnessed a perplexing variety of princely states and kingdoms, which were small and large in size, all through the subcontinent. The kingdoms created a long history of war and invasion that was interrupted by foreign invasions. Aside from the process of war and conquest India also gave birth to some of the world's leading religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.
Britons are the last foreign invader of India who ruled the country from 1858 to 1947. The country got independence on 15 August 1947 following the intensified freedom movement against the British rulers.
Several ethnic groups, castes, tribes and religions are living inside the country in harmony since time immemorial.
Indian food types vary from one region to another inside the country. Most of the Indians have rice as the staple food of the meal. Others rely more on wheat, barley, maize, or millet. People belonging to Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, and Christian religion love to eat meat whereas Jains are usually vegetarian. Lower-cast Hindus eat any other meat excluding beef.
The food items in festive occasions vary according to the caste, tribe, town, village, and religions as most of the ceremonies are based on religious themes and most of them are associated with the Hindu deities.
Usually, Indian cuisines are classified into five categories i.e. northern, southern, eastern, western and north-eastern. Different regions have their specialty in preparation, taste and way of serving the food items.
Different parts of India are influenced by local traditions, culture, climate and geography. Hence people of different states of the country wear different types of clothes. However, the traditional wears of Indian men are kurta-pyjama, dhoti or lungi and for women the traditional dresses are sari, salwar, kamij etc. Western clothes like trousers, shirts are also gaining popularity among Indian men and Indian women are also comfortable with jeans, skirts and kurta etc.
Most of the Indian clothes are made of cotton to be suitable for the hot weather. Jewelries are an integral part of Indian clothing.
As India is a home to a number of religions such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Biddhists, Jains etc. The religious rituals are different for each and every religion. The large temples and shrines are the holy places for Hindus, Masjids and tombs of saints (pir) are the places of worship for Muslims. Christians go to church for religious practices and the places linked with Buddha are the holy places for Buddhists.
Apart from this ethnic tribes residing in interior areas of different states have their own traditional culture and beliefs. They celebrate a number of festivals according to their age-old beliefs.
The touching of the feet (pranam) reflects the respect to elders. Children use to touch the feet of the elder members of their families. People of all ages touch the feet of a great guru, or an icon of Hindu deities. In Indian families, visitors are treated with lots of love and respect.
The following are some of the events celebrated by Indians with lots of joy and enthusiasm:
- Independence Day
- Republic Day
- Gandhi Jayanti
- Ganesh Chaturthi
- Durga puja
Apart from that, harvest festivals like Sankranthi, Pongal, Onam and Nuakhai are also celebrated in different states and these festivals witness participation of a huge number of people in respective states.