Hindu Culture

Topics: Health care, India, Hindu Pages: 6 (1972 words) Published: January 10, 2012
According to Merriam Webster website, culture is define as the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations, the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. It includes thoughts, styles of communicating, ways of interacting, views on roles and relationships, values, practices, and customs. Culture is shaped by multiple influences, including race, ethnicity, nationality, language, and gender, but it also extends to socioeconomic status, physical and mental ability, sexual orientating, and occupation, among other factors. The purpose of this paper is to gain knowledge about a different culture other than my own. I choose the Asian Indian Culture. Communication

East Indians from various regions are primarily differentiated by language. The Indian government recognizes 15 national languages. The main languages are Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu, and Guajarati. English, also an official language in India, is often the common medium of communication. Each of the languages has its own body of literature, and some are written in more than one script. Women do not look into the eyes of men, which would imply romantic interest, and this is considered forbidden. This is supported by Purnell and Paulanka (2003), and they add that “direct eye contact with elders and authority figures may be considered a sign of disrespect” (p. 86). Physical touch and contact are also unacceptable behaviors for showing affection (Purnell & Paulanka, 2003). Family Roles and Organization

Hindu families are well thought-out to be a close united family unit. Respect for elders is highly valued. Gender roles are very distinct. The man (the father and/or husband) is always considered the leader of household. The men provide hard, manual labor (working, yard work, etc) and give financially and the women supply household care. Hindu women lean to be more passive than American women and the men are more authoritative in nature (Bhungalia & Kemp, 2002). Hindus still perform arranged marriages, although that trend is slightly altering as Asian Indians become more urbanized and educated in the U.S. After marriage, the daughter typically moves in with her husband's family. Children are often reared by their grandparents. In keeping with modem times and financial necessity, both men and women have started putting their labor and talent to work to contribute to the family. This is generally useful and incorporated into the lifestyle of the Indian society. There is also a significant value placed on higher education and success for their children. Nutrition

Family gatherings, celebrations, and special occasions are always centered around food. Food tends to be prepared spicy, and they are known for various curry dishes. Asian Indians do not eat beef at all, and during prayer services only a vegetarian diet is permitted. “Prasad” is a popular dish prepared with sweet vegetables and is eaten during prayer. Many spices are used for home remedies, such as mixing tumric in bathwater to alleviate itching symptoms of chicken pox. Meals are usually consumed three times a day, and food preparation has strict rules, women cannot prepare food during their menses. Unleavened wheat bread, vegetables, fruit, yogurt-based food, and curries continue to be important in the diets of most Asian Indians. Rice is typical for every meal. Traditionally, Hindus eat with the fingers of their right hand. Therefore, hand washing is extremely important (Bhungalia & Kemp, 2002). Because many Hindus are primarily vegetarian, iron supplementation may be needed (Purnell & Paulanka, 2003). Indians also believe in “hot” foods and “cold” foods, and that each should only be eaten during specific times of the year and never together. Failing to adhere to the hot/cold foods theory may result in illness (Purnell & Paulanka, 2003)....
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