Indian culture is quite a unique structure indeed, which is nearly impossible to classify as a single entity, as it encompasses a variety of customs throughout the entire country, many exclusive to particular regions. However, with this medley of cultural traditions, the nation offers a wondrous array of cultural tributaries that are rich with tradition and even a bit of romance, especially celebrations, such as weddings and festivals. While customs, food, and music differ across the country, these aspects of the culture have blossomed and spread over the entire world and can often be enjoyed without setting foot on Indian soil, though it is often much more exciting and satisfying to experience the culture first-hand, immersed over your head in the way of life and traditions of this ancient culture that continues to thrive in this modern world.
Many traditional customs in India have survived time and change, and there are several that have altered and still more that continue to change as modern society grows and spreads out over the country. Existing, still, in India's current civilization is the tradition of the joint family, a household system that seems to persist and flourish in many areas, owing to custom as much as practical purposes. Marriages, lavishly steeped in tradition, from celebration to golden anniversary, have taken on a new character as time progresses. Customarily, marriages have been arranged by the parents and elders of the respective parties. However, today, while arranged marriages are prevalent throughout the country, many young people are choosing their own life partners as modern customs infiltrate the conventional practices. The clothing worn by Indian natives has evolved over the centuries, and while practically made of cotton for the hot weather, the colors and accessories abound, creating a visual charm like no other with flowing saris, stacked bangles, glittering bindis, dangling earrings, intricate mehendi tattoos, piles of gold jewelry, and beautiful smiles.
Religious diversity is a prevalent concept in India, with many, if not all, religious groups finding homes in one region or another throughout the state, from the well known sects of Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, and Buddhism to the smaller groups of Jainism, Judaism, and Baha'i Faith. Religion is regarded as a sacred tradition among the people of India, and the rituals and customs are taken to heart and practiced with great fervor and diligence. Values and beliefs are very dear to the hearts of many, if not all, born of this nation.
The cuisine of this colorful, culturally rich nation is among the most delectable and desirable in the world. From region to region the delicious gastronomy varies with unique flavors and presentations, creating a diverse dining experience. Throughout all of India, cattle is considered a sacred animal, and as such, beef is a strictly forbidden ingredient in cooking, and eating pork, since frowned upon by the Muslim community, is generally avoided as well. Many locals in India are vegetarian and those that are not expand their diet with chicken, lamb, and fish. Though utensils are used at times, Indians traditionally use their fingers and flatbreads, called naan and bhatoora, in place of silverware; some even say this gives the food a better flavor. Masalas and curries are among the most popular dishes, and these can be made with a variety of ingredients, from chicken to vegetables, and the sauces range in flavor and color, from red to green to yellow. Known throughout the ages as the land of spices, India's cuisine offers a delightfully delicious array of foods and spices that have influenced meal preparation all over the world.