Culture Briefing – A Guide to Indian Society and Customs

16 November 2016 - 12:39, by , in Living in India, No comments

Culture, Beliefs, Celebrations and Holidays

Culture in India, although diverse and varied, still holds the country together in some form of common identification. Indian culture, particularly drama and the arts, in spite of having passed through many changes, is characterized by an unmistakable unity and continuity. Each region of India has its own set of norms to live by. There are a vast variety of ethnic types.  Each grouping has differences in their domestic arrangements, what they wear, social practices they follow and ceremonies they observe at different seasons of the year and at birth, marriage and death. The religions followed are Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam and Christianity. Therefore, while it is easy to sense that India is different from other major civilizations it is very difficult to define conclusively what is essentially Indian, or to see how such a diversity of people and cultures can be related to one another. India, a land so ancient, both in history and culture, is a treasure- house of rich handicrafts which reflect a love of color, an eye for detail and form and the innately artistic personality of the people. The first thing that startles most visitors to India is the sheer abundance of color.

Way of Life

  • Family life: Traditional, arranged marriages, conservative, joint families, patriarchal;
  • Village life: Agricultural, farmer’s society, close knit communities governed by local rules, now being modernized with the introduction of education, electricity and improved irrigation system, and modern farming ways and systems.
  • City Life: Business, government and education, modern buildings and amenities alongside slums;
  • New technologies and transport systems are improving infrastructure.
  • Clothing: Regional and religious includes dhoti, turban and pajamas, sari, salwar-kameez and chunni or dupatta, as well as Western clothes. The majority of women, with the exception of young people, wear traditional clothes.  Many young people who live in the cities of India are adopting Western-style clothing.
  • Food: Regions and religions have a major influence in regard to preferred foods such as rice, wheat, millet, pulses, chapattis and vegetables, and for non-vegetarians – meat products and fish.
  • Health: Constant efforts by various government agencies are made to provide adequate medical facilities across the country. There have been vast improvements in the quality of healthcare over the years
  • Education: 52.21% can read and write, there are over 5000 colleges and universities, there is free education between 6 and 14 years of age in government schools, private schools attract a large number of students. More and more students are opting for higher studies.


  • Cricket is a National Obsession;
  • Another popular sport is hockey, different than ice hockey it is a sport invented in India. It is also the national sport of India;
  • Soccer is played all over the nation and is a favorite in West Bengal, Goa and some of the North Eastern states.
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