It is always interesting to notice cultural differences when traveling. However, it can be an advantage from time to time to know a few tips and tricks that you can either brag to family or friends, or that you can use once you arrive. On this page you can find a little about religion, peoples, tempo and tone, dress, food and specialties and holidays in India.
Religion and philosophy in India
In India’s orange-green-white-striped flag, the colors represent the three main groups in the Indian religious cultures. The orange color represents Hinduism, the green Islam and the white color the many minority religions.
Hinduism is the most widespread religion in India, but it is far from simple to define. Some of the core values of Hinduism are “Karma”, which is about cause and effect – you are reborn into layers of society depending on how you have lived in your previous life. In addition, there is “Moksha”, which is a form of Nirvana and the liberation from reincarnation – the ideal goal for Hindus.
Within Hinduism there are many different gods including Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer) and Shiva (the Destroyer) – the three most popular gods who together take care of humans. The Hindus worship these gods through, for example, the sacrifice of flowers, by bowing with folded hands to statues of the gods in temples and by common preparations such as Arti (sacrifice of fire).
Peoples of India
Taking a look at the peoples of India, one will encounter designations like Tamils and Santals just to name a few. Tamils are a people you will typically encounter in South India, but they also live elsewhere in the world – including Denmark. It is estimated that there are about 63 million Tamils in India and 11,000 in Denmark.
Santalis live primarily in Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa, and it is a people who typically live as rice farmers. These people are not as widespread as the Tamils, yet they make up about 5.5 million people in India. In addition, they also live in other countries such as Nepal.
India is an incredibly diverse country with countless peoples. It is a great place to visit where diversity meets. Traveling to India with Tourist Travel is a completely unique opportunity to gain insight into the country’s many exciting cultures.
Tact and tone in India
In India one will meet a warm people where the key words are helpfulness, openness and humility. It is thus a country where you are guaranteed to be well received and feel welcome.
It may be a good idea to keep in mind that India is a land of great sanctuary and this should be respected. It involves covering oneself when visiting temples and mosques. It also means that one should respect their sacred cows.
It is well-liked and customary to take off one’s shoes before going inside – both in private homes, temples, etc. It is also always a good idea to greet people by gathering your hands in front of you and saying “namaste”, and when one says thank you, one can say “dha-nya-vahd”.
Attire in India
According to thedresswizard, Indians are very casual in terms of attire. Perhaps the most well-known attire for women is the festive sari, which can signal whether the woman is married or widowed or on what occasion it is worn – depending on color, cut and decoration.
For men, the traditional attire is what is called a dhoti kurta – a piece of fabric that is wrapped around the legs combined with a long coat-like upper. In the big cities, however, one will still find quite a few Indians who do not go traditionally dressed, but rather go dressed in clothes that could be very reminiscent of the Western style.
If you come to India as a tourist, there will be no expectation that you should dress in the same way, as India is generally a very tolerant country where there is plenty of room for diversity. However, it will be respectful to cover oneself if one visits sacred places.
Indian food and specialties
A trip to India can not fail to become a culinary experience, as the country has one of the world’s most popular and exquisite cuisines, which has more to offer than just curry dishes (although curry dishes are inevitable). The food is a part of India’s culture that one can calmly look forward to experiencing.
You can find everything from velvety chicken dishes like butter chicken to coarser dishes like Rogan Josh and Chicken Tikka Masala, which are available both in Danish stomach-friendly versions but also in the Indian guy in the flame. For the really cool, there is Vindaloo, which is often marked on the menu with skulls, chilies and fire.
When the food can from time to time become a little semi-strong, it is fortunate that the Indians are brilliant at delivering refreshing, soothing and cool drinks. There are both lovely, local beers like Kingfisher and inviting lassies (a yogurt drink) with many different flavors.
Holidays in India
In India, where most people are followers of Hinduism, of course, many Hindu festivals are also celebrated. If you leave in January, you may come across the popular harvest festival Pongal, where you celebrate the harvest over four days and thank the weather gods, the sun, the cattle and the earth.
If you are in India at full moon in February or March, you will be able to experience the solemn Holi – the celebration of colors. It is a celebration of the transition from winter to spring, where people throw colored water and powder at each other.
In June, the famous Ganga Dhaaraa takes place – a celebration of the arrival of the goddess Ganga to Earth. Hindus go to the Ganges River to bathe in the holy water, and in the evening the river is filled with small boats of leaves filled with flowers, incense and fire – a sacrifice.
Within Hinduism, there are numerous festivals where gods are worshiped and worshiped, good harvests are celebrated, seasons and special days are marked. No matter when you travel to India, there is almost always an exciting event to experience.