Longstanding Tradition of Hindu and Its Impact on Modern Cultural Elements of Indian Society Term Paper

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Longstanding tradition of Hindu and its impact on modern culture elements of Indian society.

The longstanding tradition of Hindu and its impact on modern cultural elements of Indian society

Basics of Hinduism

Hinduism is the world's oldest religion and the third largest. It is a rich collection of hundreds of spiritual and philosophical traditions throughout Asia for more than 5000 years. The term Hinduism is absent in the scriptures as it comes from the term Hindu which was introduced by the foreigners in their reference to people living along the river Indus or Sindhu in the northern part of India where the Vedic religion was believed to have originated. Hindus follow the teachings of Vedas and it is the main religion in India. Hindus believe in one God who manifests in many different forms. Some of the forms that the Hindu God manifests include Krishna, Durga, Ganesh, Sakti (Devi), Vishnu, Surya, Siva and Skanda (Murugan). Hindus believe in one Supreme God who created the universe, in reincarnation, in karma which means that everyone creates their own destiny and in the scriptures, also known as the Vedas ("Hinduism Basics").Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Longstanding Tradition of Hindu and Its Impact on Modern Cultural Elements of Indian Society Assignment

Hinduism has four major denominations according to their focus of worship. Those who worship Vishnu and his incarnations, specifically Krishna and Rama, practice Vaishnavism. Those who worship Shakti, Sri Devi or the divine mother in her various forms are called Shaktas and they practice Shaktism. Shiva is the supreme God to Saivites, who practice Saivism. Smartism is practiced by Smartas are known as liberal or non-sectarian and view the various manifestations of God as equivalent therefore accepting all major Hindu gods. The Hindu place of worship is the temple and a majority of them make up to five daily food offerings to the gods. Hindus maintain, as a focus of worship, one or two shrines in their homes. Worship takes place at any time and daily. The Vedas, meaning knowledge and wisdom, is the sacred text in Hinduism. There are four Vedas namely, the Rig-Veda or Veda of hymns; the Sama-Veda or Veda of Chants; Yajur-Veda or Veda of Sacrifices and Atharava-Veda or Veda of Atharvan. The Vedas are further divided into three strata: Samhita, Brahmana and Upanishad. Samhita is a collection of hymns, chants and sacrificial formulas as appropriate, Brahmana comprises of expository texts and Upanishad comprises speculative treatises.

Compulsory daily observances include praying three times daily, also called worship at the junction time or Sandhyopasana, which can be accomplished in private. These are prayers that take place at the junction of night and morning, morning and afternoon and evening and night. They are also expected to recite the mantra 108 times daily. Weekly observances are congregating together to worship whereby one prays for intense devotion and the removal of the veil of ignorance. A particular deity becomes the focus of worship in these weekly meetings. Occasional observances include 22 celebrations recorded per year. In addition to these celebrations, many localities observe special days for local deities. The interpretation of the Hindu calendar and the effect of local customs on the observances, some observances may take place on different dates. Navarati, a nine day festival dedicated to the worship of Sakti and on the tenth day, the day of victory or Vijaya Disami, prayers of thankfulness are offered ("Hinduism Basics").

The fourth day after the new moon in the Tamil month of Avani, between August and September, marks the festival of Ganesha Chathurthi. The festival is marked with Ganesha receiving special prayers the whole day and his worship incorporates a large festival parade. It is celebrated by all Hindus regardless of sect and particularly those in North India.Makar Sankranti are the first festival of the solar calendar falling on January 14 every year. This is when the sun enters the Zodiac sign of Capricorn and when the day and night are of equal duration. The way of celebration varies in celebration from one area to the next, for instance, Tamils in southern India refer to it as the Pongal or Harvest Festival where families gather and share their harvests. Rice and milk are made as offerings to Surya who symbolizes the sun. Shiva as a deity beyond time, form and space is celebrated during Mahasivaratri and involves an all night vigil which does not end till dawn where Saivites may break a day long fast and is mandatory to them. Dates vary depending on the lunar calendar and may fall between February and March of the Gregorian calendar.

There are two religious holidays that Hindus observe, whose exact dates are found in the Operations Memorandum on Religious Holy Days Observances. Dasher or Ramlila is observed in October and celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravan and Goddess Durga's victory over a demon as described in the Ramayana. This is basically celebration of good over evil. October or early November signifies the celebration of Diwali or the Festival of Lights, the most popular Hindu festival. It is dedicated to the Goddess Kali in Bengal and to the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, to the rest of India. It is also associated with stories of Vishnu's destruction of evil in his many manifestations, also known as avatara.

Basics of Indian Culture

The state of intellectual development or manners is referred to as culture. Culture refers to social and political forces influencing the growth of a person. Indian clothing includes the sari, a single length of material which has evolved from being a traditional garment to the country's national dress. It is five to six yards in length and made from cotton, silk or a man-made material. It is worn to accentuate or conceal and when worn, the color and texture indicate the woman's age, religion, status, occupation or region she comes from. A choli is the tightly fitted, short blouse worn under the sari and has evolved over time. The first ones covered the front only with the back bare and are still common in Rajasthan where a pleated skirt or ghagra or lehanga are worn with it. A length of fine cotton, called orhni or dupatta is used to cover the head in Rajasthan. Popular attire for women is the salwar kameez which has evolved from being a comfortable and respectable garment in Kashmir and Punjab to a popular garment in all regions in the country. Salwars, a pajama like trousers drawn tightly around the waist and ankles, are worn with the kameez, a loose and long tunic. The kameez can be worn with a churidar instead, which is tighter than the salwar at the hips, thighs and ankles. Men wear more conventional clothing as opposed to the women. This is usually the case in modern cities with their village counterparts comfortable in kurtas, a collarless tunic, lungis, dhotis and pajamas, also known as lenga.. Lungis are worn by both men and women and originated in the south. It is a short length of material worn like a sarong around the thighs. The dhoti is similar to the lungi only longer with the additional length of material pulled up between its legs. The Indian form of dressing is marked by variations depending on religion and region and is in a wide array of colors, textures and styles.


Cooking is considered an art that is passed from mother to daughter or from teacher to pupil through show and tell. Meals are occasions where families get together. Meals comprise several dishes ranging from rice and bread, which are staple foods, to vegetables and meat, and then rounded off with a dessert. The taste, color, texture and appearance of a delicacy may change from state to state. At traditional and festive meals, the plates or banana leaf is decorated with a design made with white and colored powders around the edges, also known as rangoli. Kashmiri cuisine is meat-based, essentially. The basis of many famous dishes is lamb, goat and chicken meats. They are usually flavored with saffron and Kashmiri chilies, which impart a rich red color to the food without being too spicy. Dry fruits like walnuts, dried dates and apricots are used lavishly in puddings, curries and snacks. Cottage cheese is also a popular accompaniment to many meats and vegetables. Fresh water fish such as trout are also a delicacy. Food is usually followed by a generous serving of fresh fruits ("Cuisine").

Punjabi people prefer simple, sizeable and hearty food. Meals like, marinated chicken, chicken, fish, paneer, rotis and naans are cooked in earthen ovens half buried in the ground with coal fire lit beneath it. Punjab cuisine is inspired by external influences. The gravy component of their cuisine comes from the Mughals. Mughali cuisine comprises of rich sources, butter-based curries, sweets, and meat which is ginger flavored. The Bengali's sweets made from burnt milk and curd are their greatest contribution to Indian cuisine. Yoghurt sweetened with jaggery is compulsory in each Bengali home. Guests are welcomed with crisp samosas and sweets made from burnt milk. A majority of Bengali… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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