The Oxford dictionary defines culture as an intellectual manifestation of art, social behavior, and customs of a specific society. Culture is also intricately associated with cuisine, languages, ethnic values, and generic practices. Generally every culture is bound to these parameters in some ways. This phenomenon is commonly observed in most of the countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. However, there is one country in Asia where the culture goes beyond all the above listed parameters, and that is called India.
Languages across India
If you were to travel across India (North to south, West to East, or any direction you may choose), the experience is no less than the journey from Madrid in Spain to Yiwu in China. India has 29 states and 7 union territories. There are 22 official languages and more than 1,600 others (including dialects of the official languages and the unclassified). The oldest language of India is Sanskrit, whose origins trace back to more than 4,000 years into the BC era. India has five mainstream religions namely the Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. There are hundreds of sub sects in every religion making it multi ethnic society.
In spite of having such a vast number of ethnic groups, India has a unique cultural fabric that is woven from all of them. You can consider a simple example of "Rangoli", the tradition floor and wall art. Every Indian Hindu household has it right to indicate prosperity. The women draw them using the flours of rice, sand, brick powder, and flowers. They are commonly found from the state of Jammu & Kashmir in North India to the state of Tamil Nadu in South India.
The cultural differences between every state are clearly visible when you consider the music, dance, fabrics & dress materials, foods, jewelry and cosmetics, and many other aspects. Yet, there are many similarities among these differences.
Top Similarities among Differences
· Jewelry: The traditional Indian bangles vary in size, color, design, and material. But all of them represent the same cultural identity of women across India. Similarly, you can compare the ornaments for the forehead, nose, neck, waist, feet, and the fingers. You can find some sort of similarities among the visibly different styles.
· Dress Material: The traditional Indian Men's cloth is the "DHOTI" worn in different styles in different states, but it is made of same material. Similarly, the SARI has its multiple forms and materials. The other forms of traditional Indian costumes are the turban, shirts, trousers, skirts, "SALWAR", "KURTA", Pajama, the footwear, veil, blouses, and the "ANGAVASTRAM". These are common among all the religions (other than Christians), though their designs and colors vary.
· Foods and Beverages:The North Indian staple food is wheat, while it is rice in the south and the north-east. The western Indian states are traditionally vegetarian. You can find eat eating people among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and the Christians. The Jains and Buddhists are strictly vegetarian. The traditional Indian beverages vary from "LASSI", tea, coffee, sugarcane, "SHIKANJVI", "SURA", "HANDIA", and many others.