The Land of Curry!

What are your immediate thoughts when someone tells you they come from  India? Do you think of the colours, the food, the places, the languages and the culture? Different parts of the country have different traditions and customs,  so better stay tuned and read the full article if you want to know more about this beautiful and exciting country!

India is located in the Southern part of Asia, and is bordered Pakistan in the west  and China and Nepal in the north east. Indian civilization began about 4,500 years ago which suggests that it is amongst the world’s oldest cultures. This country has twenty eight states, seven territories, and  includes 23 official spoken languages. All the languages do sound similar, and have some words in common, although they are spoken with different accents. Let me give you an example; about 41% of the country speaks Hindi, being the language the Northern Indians speak, the other 59% speak languages such as Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil (and more), which are languages that are usually spoken in the southern part of India. India was colonized by a number of countries, and some languages from these countries are still practised at schools and are a choice of a second language. For example, French is practiced in Pondicherry as this specific place was colonized by the French. Other languages such as English, Farsi and Russian languages are also spoken in other parts of the country.

Although people from all religions have the right to practice their religion throughout the country, Hinduism and Buddhism dominate the country’s religion percentage. Additionally, about 13% of Indians are Muslims, and there is a small percentage of Christians and Sikhs that make up the religious population around the country.

Indian food. Who loves Indian dishes? Did you know that when the Mughal Empire invaded during the 16th century, they left a mark on Indian cuisine? Indian cuisine is influenced by many countries around the world due to the immense use of different herbs and spices, without forgetting that the cooking styles vary from region to region. A dish that is is very popular in the Southern part of India is Hyderabad Biryani, which is a dish that takes time and practice to make but is worth every bit of the effort (Zimmerman). It contains rice, flavored with tropical spices such as saffron, and layered with lamb, chicken, fish, or vegetables, cooked in a thick gravy. Mattar Paneer is a vegetarian North Indian dish consisting of peas and paneer in a tomato sauce, spiced with garam masala, and is usually served with rice.This doesn’t mean that the food that you find in the north cannot be eaten in the southern regions; it is just the origin of the dish that dominates the eating customs. All typical Indians eat with their hands as a tradition to appreciate what they are eating is with full heart. SouthIndians have a tradition of eating their meals on banana leaves, although this is is not commonly practiced Northern part of the country.

Clothing and Arts come as being connected in this culture. Women wear saris which is identified as a colorful cloth, whereas men wear kurtas, which is basically a loose shirt that is about to the knee in length, with pants. Of course, most citizens don’t always wear these types of clothes, but for important festivals and celebrations, it is a MUST! Diwali is one of the most important festivals that is celebrated in India in the month of November. It is a 5 day festival and is meant to be the celebration of lights,  symbolizing the inner light that protects people from spiritual darkness (Zimmerman).

 

Bibliography:

Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “Indian Culture: Traditions and Customs of India.” LiveScience, Purch, 20 July 2017, http://www.livescience.com/28634-indian-culture.html.

 

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