7 Amazing Facts About Indian Culture

India has always been a strong advocate of the fact that unity is diversity. Housing a total population of 1.3 billion people, the country is engraved with unique cultural nuances. Here are a few facts about Indian culture that account for its multifaceted identity.

India has always been a strong advocate of the fact that unity is diversity. Housing a total population of 1.3 billion people, the country is engraved with unique cultural nuances. Here are a few facts about Indian culture that account for its multifaceted identity.

All Major Religions of The World

Although the majority of the population is Hindu, the country houses well-established communities of major as well as smaller world religions. Churches are visible across Goa and Kerala. Magnificent Jain temples are common in cities like Rajasthan, Delhi and Gujarat. Uttar Pradesh & Bihar is home to numerous Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Punjab is the official home of Sikhism. Muslims constitute 14% of the Indian population. Mosques, mausoleums and shrines are visible throughout the country.

The Namaste Greeting

You may already know about this famous Indian tradition. It is one of the five ancient forms of greeting mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. The word Namaste translates to “I bow to you”. Greeting one another with Namaste is also a way of saying “May our minds meet”.

The System Of Arranged Marriages

The Indian society strongly advocates for arranged marriage. The system of arranged marriage is still followed, where parents are responsible for finding the perfect matches for their children. In some cultures, love marriage is a huge taboo.

Atithi Devo Bhavah

The phrase translates to “Guest is equivalent to God”. It has become a traditional code of conduct for the Hindu community. Whenever a guest arrives, he/she is treated with utmost respect and provided unparalleled hospitality.

The Traditional Indian Wear

Women in India are often observed wearing saris. A sari is a garment that has an unstitched drape. It is typically wrapped around the waist with one end of the garment placed on the shoulder, leaving a bare portion of the midriff. For casual occasions, Indian men wear simple “Kurta Pyjamas”. For formal occasions, they are observed donning “Sherwanis”.

The English Language

The English speaking population in India is the second largest in the world, USA being on top. It is also one of the twenty-two official languages enshrined in the Constitution of India. You will be able to communicate almost everywhere in the country.

The Largest Population of Vegetarians

India houses the largest population of vegetarians, which made KFC introduce its first-ever vegetarian menu in the entire world, exclusively made for India.Cooking in India differs from region to region, which results in the diverse cuisine. Species herbs are extensively put to use when it comes to Indian food. However, rice and wheat are staple grains.

Unique Traditional Dances From Around the World

Traditional dances are a sight to behold. They’re not done just for the aesthetics, but to preserve cultures and remind people of their humble origins as well.

Contrary to Abba’s words, not only seventeen-year olds can be dancing queens. Everyone can be, and these traditional dances from around the world prove that. Traditional dances are a sight to behold. They’re not done just for the aesthetics, but to preserve cultures and remind people of their humble origins as well.       

Indonesia – Kecak Dance

The Kecak is the famous fire dance originating from Bali, Indonesia. It is a popular cultural attraction for local and international tourists alike due to the amazing display of colorful costumes and elaborate fire structures.

This traditional dance is a portrayal of a war between Prince Rama with his monkey army, and the evil Rahwana. The dancers move to the tune sung by themselves.

It’s usually performed at dusk to emphasize the fire attractions. To do the Kecak, 150 men wearing Balinese sarongs sit around a fire structure. In the middle are the priest, Rama, Shinta (Rama’s wife), the Monkey King, Rahwana, and Sugriwa, a Buddhist god.

Italy – Tarantella

The Tarantella is a couple folk dance that involves light, quick steps, and flirtatious & teasing behavior. The female dancers usually carry tambourines as they groove to the sound. The dance is traditionally performed during celebrations, especially weddings.

This traditional dance was believed to cure a specific sickness caused by tarantula bites, hence the name Tarantella. As time passed by, it also became a dance of courtship. In this version, the woman uses liveliness to spark the love of her partner. In return, the man tries to charm her with elegance and tenderness.

The Philippines – Tinikling

Tinikling is the oldest dance in the Philippines. It involves bamboo poles that are moved simultaneously. The original version includes two poles only, but a variation involves four poles in a criss-cross position.

Each pair, consisting of a male and a female, has to dance to the rhythm while the bamboo poles are moving at their feet. The dancers have to maintain composure as they have to avoid getting their ankles caught between the bamboo poles.

Ukraine – Hopak

Hopak is a traditional dance with a Ukranian origin. Its first version only involved males. As it became more popular, Hopak was danced by soloists, couples, and groups.

What makes this traditional dance interesting is that it doesn’t have a fixed set of steps. Men usually improvise steps in the form of high leaps, turns, and squat kicks. On the other hand, women do simple steps by swaying, clapping, and going in circles. Additionally, complex acrobatic movements are common in stage versions of Hopak.

Japan – Kabuki

Kabuki is a traditional dance accompanied with drama. The amazing mix of dance, music, mime, and costumes made it popular in Japan for more than four centuries. The dance drama is also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, which makes locals and foreigners flock to see Kabuki live.

Kabuki is a visual spectacle that emphasizes looks more than the plot. The set design, music, and dance steps were all carefully crafted to produce a breathtaking show.

Russia – Barynya

The Barynya of Russia is a traditional dance characterized by extremely energetic moves. It is accompanied by chastushka, which is a folk song with a high beat frequency. Chastushkas are full of humor, irony, or satire.

The female dancers wear embroidered Russian dresses and headgears. On the other hand, the male dancers don shirts, loose trousers, and boots with high heels. The dance has a non-complex choreography, with simple steps such as foot stomping and knee bending.

Mongolia – Tsam Dance

The Tsam Dance of Mongolia is a Tibetan Buddhist dance that includes characters of Buddhist legends and animals that symbolizes both good and bad. Seeing dancers wear lion, crow, or deer costumes are a common sight during a Tsam performance. 

Historically, a Tsam dance was done at the beginning of the year to exorcise evil. Nowadays, the dance is mainly believed to bring good fortune. All dancers are required to wear masks (most of which cover the whole head) and elaborate costumes that take many days to perfect.

England – Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance that’s believed to be the oldest one, with an age of more than 1,000 years. This traditional dance is performed each year on the first Monday after September 4 in the Staffordshire village.

During the dance, six people carry the horns. They are accompanied by a musician with a violin or accordion. The Maid Marian (a man in a dress), the Hobby horse, the Jester (a young person with a bow & arrow), and another young person with a triangle complete the ensemble.

Traditionally, all of the dancers have to be males, but modern versions of the dance allow girls to carry triangles, bows, and arrows.

    

Spain’s Mysterious Underwater Temple

Spain’s Mysterious Underwater Temple: In 2019, Spain was hit with record droughts, which it has never seen in recent years. It was these conditions that caused the waters of the Tagus coastline to recede, and reveal a shocking sight – an ancient temple monument, the Spanish Stonehenge.

Spain has a long and storied history of interesting culture, conflicts, and ancient mysteries. That is why it should come as no surprise that when weather patterns change, even more exciting things can be found in the waters.

If you weren’t in Europe during the summer of 2019, you likely didn’t realize how exceptionally hot the entire region was for those months. The whole of central and southern Europe was experiencing record high temperatures, and the country of Spain, was no exception. In that year, Spain was hit with record breaking droughts, that it has never seen in recent years. It was these conditions that caused the waters of the Tagus coastline to recede, and reveal a shocking sight – an ancient temple monument, the Spanish Stonehenge.

This temple that was revealed, dating to be between 4,000-7,000 years old, emerged for the first time in decades among the Valdecañas reservoir. The sight itself was previously excavated by a German researcher by the name of Hugo Obermaier in 1920; however, nothing was made of the discovery and the site was submerged completely underwater in 1963 during a construction project. The site was lost to the minds of the global community, until it’s recent re-emergence.

The site has come to be known as the ‘Spanish Stonehenge’, due to its construction of large granite megalithic structures organized in a 26m round circle. The resemblance to the famous English megalithic structure is rather uncanny. The tips of the structure were known to peak above the waters over the years when water levels in the reservoir were low, but it wasn’t until this historic summer of 2019 that they fully emerged.

Experts believe that the structure was previously used as a temple, or even a ritual burial ground. It is unclear, why people in the region would have needed the structure for at that time; but the fact remains that the massive 2m tall stones are something to behold.

Unfortunately, there have been concerns about how to preserve this unique monument. Granite is a very porous stone, and being submerged for the better part of 60 years has not been kind to the monument. Currently there are movements being launched to preserve and protect the monument from tourists and others who might damage it and all it’s natural wonders.

Many cultures have tales of ancient underwater temples and cities, the Spanish Stonehenge brings something mythic to the area in this regard. It gives an amazing look into older civilizations , and all who laid eyes on it have noted the sense of wonder and amazement it evokes. It truly is a wonder of the ancient world, brought forth for us to see again from the depths of the reservoir it sleeps in.