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Curiosities about Indian culture

India is a country with a millenary culture, which has been nurtured by other cultures and influences throughout its history, until developing a unique idiosyncrasy full of contrasts. It has multiple religions with countless rites that attract attention, it has luxurious temples and palaces, with their lavish colors and aromas of spices.

All this makes it a different country full of curiosities, where wealth coexists with poverty, but it will not stop surprising you. The most remarkable curiosities about Indian culture are described below.

It is officially the most populous country in the world

There are 1,324 million inhabitants in India, ranking just behind China in population. Unofficially, there are those who think that India actually has more inhabitants than China, since there are a large number of people who have not registered and more than 40% of the population does not have an identity card.

India is the second country where English is most widely practiced in the world

After the United States, India is the country where the most people speak the English language. Due to the long English colonization, 10% of the Indian population speaks the language, but that is equivalent to more than 132 million people.

It is the country with the largest number of vegetarian inhabitants in the world

Either by religion, as in the case of Hindus or by conviction of other religions, in India it is speculated that around 50% of the population is vegetarian. It is practically a country where you do not eat meat and there is a wide variety of foods and flavors to try.

It is the paradise of any vegetarian, since the gastronomic offer free of meat is very diverse and tasty, in fact it tends to be liked by both vegetarians and those who do eat meat.

Shampoo was invented in India

The population of this country is characterized by being extremely clean and every morning you can see how they bathe in public areas in a very energetic way. It is said that the Indians were the first to use the concept of shampoo, which was made with herbs and was invented in Kerala.

At present in Kerala town, people continue to make their own herbal shampoo and this mixture is offered in the markets. It is sold dry and in a glass bottle, to which water is added and it is ready to use.

Once every 12 years the largest human rally in the world takes place

It is known as Maja Kmubhamela and it is a great religious pilgrimage along the banks of the Ganges River, with an average attendance of 100 million pilgrims in each edition.

On average, there are 5 million Sadhus in India

Sadhus are people who are in the fourth phase of the ideal life of a Hindu. When this person chooses to comply with this phase, he renounces everything, leaves all his possessions, including his family, and dedicates himself to traveling all over India studying the sacred texts, meditating in austerity and with daily penance.

A Sadhu must live without money and only with what people give him, without having to ask. They try to know the true values ​​of life and through them achieve a state of objective happiness and then enlighten and die in peace.

When these Sadhu begin their pilgrimage, they are already taking the first steps to prepare their soul and in this way purify it to be closer to God. When your body dies, your soul will be able to free itself and reunite with the energy called Atman.

 

Tribes of India: culture and tradition

All the indigenous tribes of India are known as Adivasi, a term that is generally applied to all tribes in India, as opposed to castes. This term means original inhabitants and they constitute the group of aboriginal people of India.

More than three hundred Adivasi groups officially belong to the tribes of India since the 1950s and make up 7% of the total population, making it the country with the highest concentration of indigenous peoples in the world.

Main tribes

Legally, the constitution of India has 645 official tribes. These correspond to the cataloged tribes or recognized tribes, among them are those described below.

Andhra Pradesh

This state of India is located in the southeast of the country and is home to the Andh and Raghu tribes; bagata; bhil; chenchu; gadabas; gond naikpod; goudu; hill reddis; jatapus; kammara; kattunayakan; kondhs; ronia; savaras; thoti; yenadis and yerkulas.

Some of these tribes come from the Dravidian ethnic group of central India and are farmers, others live in the mountainous areas and their traditional way of life is hunting and gathering.

Assam

It is located in northwestern India and is made up of the Chakma tribes; dimasse; garolo; hmar; khasi; various Kuki tribes; hajong; lakher; mizo; mikir; naga; pawi; bodo; deori; lalung; mising and rabha.

A part of these tribes have as their ancestors the worldly population of India, who were the first inhabitants of the area before the Dravidian invasions.

Bijar

This state is located in the north central region of India and there are the Asur tribes; baiga; banjara; birhor; chik baraik; gond; karmali; kharia; khond; kisan; kora; korwa; mahli; worldly; they prayed; santal and sauria paharia.

Some of these tribes belong to the Dravidian ethnic group of central India, who are traditionally farmers.

Gujarat

It is located in the southwest of the country and there are the Barda tribes; bharwad; several bhil; charan; dhanka; dhodia; gamit; gond; koli; kundi; rabari; siddi and varli. These are very traditional tribes of India, practicing the most indigenous religions of this country.

Himachal

It is a state located in the north of the country and there are the Gaddi and Chippi tribes. This is a tribe that worships Lord Shiva, they are famous for the traditional drink that they prepare this deity.

Karnataka

This state is located in the southwest of the country and in it you can find the barda tribes; several of the bhils; chenchu; gamit; gond; irular; jenu kuruba; kadu kuruba; kammara; kanivan; kathodi; kattunayakan; konda; koya; kudiya; kuruba; maratha; marati; meda; siddi; all; valmiki and varli.

Many of these tribes live in mountainous areas, on which they depend for their living, since they do not practice agriculture.

Kerala

It is located in the extreme south of the country and includes the Irular tribes; kadar; kammara; kattunayuakan; konda; kota; kudiya; mudugar; muduvan; paliyan and ulladan. Several of these tribes come from the Tamil ethnic group, having their own religion and their particular customs.

Madhya pradesh

It is a state located in the center of the country, in which the andh tribes are found; baiga; bharia; bhil; agariya; bhunjia; gadaba; various Gond tribes; kawar; kharia; kol; kolam; korku; kori; manjhi; majhwar; meena; worldly; they prayed; panika; pao; various pardhi and sahariya. Some of these tribes are followers of the Shaktism sect and have Kuldevis.

Maharashtra

Located in the west central area of ​​India, this state has the tribes andh; baiga; fence; baki; various bhil; bhunjia; dhanka; dhanwar; dhodia and many gond. Many of these tribes are descendants of the Dravidian ethnic group.

Each one of these tribes represents an important part of Indian culture and their descendants have marked the history of an ethnic group rich in traditions.

All about Hindu traditions

If any place is interesting for its customs and traditions, it is India, Hindu traditions are so picturesque that they leave no room for doubt, love or hate them, but the truth is that they attract the attention of visitors.

It is the second country with the most people on the planet and there are tribes and castes, all with different religions, which makes it possible to find a great diversity of traditional uses and customs.

The Ganesh Charurthi festival

It is the celebration that is held to commemorate the anniversary of the deity and is celebrated according to the phase of the moon that corresponds to it, in the calendar of the Hindu chronology, this festival can last between five days and three weeks.

This celebration brings together a large number of artists who are dedicated to making fabulous idols of the deity and that can reach heights of up to 30 meters. After the festivities and prayers, all the idols and decorations are collected and taken to the sea where they are submerged.

Marriage according to the Manusmriti

The Manusmriti is the first book of the Mahabharata, in it are the laws of men. According to this book, there are eight ways to get married:

  • Brahmana: In this option, the father of the bride delivers his daughter to a good man.
  •  Daiva: Here the bride is dressed with large jewels and is married to a priest who will officiate at a sacrifice.
  • Arsha: In this option, the marriage will take place only when the father of the bride receives from the future husband the price of his daughter in cattle.
  • Parghpatya: This marriage occurs when the father of the bride pays homage to a man and the future spouses are blessed with the word that they will both fulfill their obligations.
  • Asura: It is when the man gives a fortune to the relatives of the bride so that they allow him to marry her.
  • Gandharva: It is the act of deliberately forming a couple, just by physical attraction.
  • Rakshasa: This is the forced act of kidnapping a girl from her home, killing her entire family.
  • Paishaach: This is forced marriage to a woman while she is asleep or intoxicated.

Sacred rivers of India

For the Hindu culture, water is sacred, therefore all the rivers in its territory are. The banks of the rivers are the places to celebrate the local festivals, being also places where the fertility rites are performed.

For this ancient culture, water is a conscious being in its mass and movement, capable of cleansing the spirit of man.

The deceased are taken to the water of the rivers, thus seeking to wash their souls and that the water leads them to the other world. In addition there are the seven Sapta Sindhu, which are the most sacred water tributaries within the territory.

Diwali, the festival of lights

This is a lavish festival that takes place on the fifteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Karttika, and lasts for five days. During this festival the focal point is the beautiful compositions made with lit candles.

It is customary to release a garment and share typical sweets with neighbors and friends, fireworks are also common. All of this is intended to welcome the Hindu New Year, which is given in commemoration of Krishna’s triumph over Narakasura.

According to tradition, the inhabitants filled all the high places of the city with lighted lamps to help Rama orient himself in the dark, hence the fabulous custom of lighting with lights and candles in this celebration, it’s gorgeous.

Meet the Shinnecock

The Shinnecock are a nation of Native Americans made up of 12 Algonquian-speaking tribes. This nation occupied the territory between Long Island and Connecticut, today their descendants live on a 400-acre reservation in Southampton, where they are officially called Shinnecock.

Previously they depended on the cultivation of corn for their livelihood, which women took care of, and supplemented with hunting and fishing. They were of semi-sedentary customs and moved seasonally between places where food reserves were found.

After the colonization by the Europeans, the population of Native Americans decreased drastically, mainly due to the number of infectious diseases for which they did not have strong enough immune systems and were transmitted by the colonists.

Additionally, their communities were disturbed by the invasion of lands by the Dutch and later English settlers, so that they were forced to adapt their customs to a more sedentary life.

The Shinnecock Nation was very comfortable on the water, spending a long time in fishing and marine work in general. In the 19th century, Shinnecock men worked as fishermen and sailors on whaling ships based in Sag Harbor and other ports in the area.

The reserve

This is an autonomous population reservation, which in 1972 was an important part of the so-called Shinnecock Native American cultural coalition, with the intention of starting the founding of a Native American arts and crafts program.

In that place you learn everything related to the oral and manual tradition of the Native American tribes. In addition, a group called the youngblood singers was formed, dedicated to learning songs, chants and traditional Algonquin drumming rituals.

In 2005 a claim was filed against the City of New York for 3,500 acres in Southampton, alleging that traditional tribal cemeteries were located on these valuable lands, which were fraudulently sold by falsifying a tribal authorization. There is still much more to know about this culture, read on.

Whale hunt

Commercial whaling in the United States began in the 1650s with contracts made between the English settlers residing in the area and the Shinnecock Indians. The English colonists had very little experience in the seas, while the Indians had experience in both navigation and whaling.

The skill of the Shinnecocks directly impacted the number of whales caught in a season, as a result the men of this indigenous nation were highly sought after by whaling companies months in advance and for years to hunt for them.

The Indian fishing worker was so valued that in 1708 the governor enacted a law stating that those Indians who were under contract by the companies could not be arrested, harassed, or detained in any way from November 1 to November 15. April.

In the middle of the 18th century the whaling industry suffered a decline, and the whales were not as abundant as in earlier times and they were not seen near the coast. Whaling had spread throughout the world and the Shinnecocks were still highly valued within the industry.

Wampum as a means of payment

This Indian nation is closely linked to the wampum. The relationship between the shinnecock and the making of wampum is mentioned for the first time by the Dutch official Isaack de Rasieres, who in his records described that the indigenous population supported themselves by planting corn and making wampum.

This indigenous population is considered the largest producer of wampum in colonial times and much of it was used to pay tribute to larger or more powerful tribes.

There is no doubt that this culture is one of the most important in the North American region, fortunately its roots are still strong and many of its customs have been maintained despite time.