CULTURE

The Culture of a society and its people are in the codes of behaviour, dress, language, religion, rituals and food habits. A culture of a particular society is manifested in music, literature, painting and sculpture, theatre and films.

India has a very hoary past and its culture is a melting pot of many strands of peoples, customs, traditions and behaviour.

The lamps lit on a 'kolam' or geometrical design made with rice flour

For three days, right now, one of the oldest festivals is being celebrated in the south. Karthigai is a festival of lamps in Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Kaarthigai Deepam takes its name from the month (November-December) and star Kaarthigai on which this festival of lights occurs. It is celebrated over three days around the full moon day (Poornima), when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Karthigai (Pleiades). This constellation appears as a group of six stars in the skies in the shape of a pendant dangling from the ear.

The lighted lamp is considered an auspicious symbol and believed to ward off evil forces and usher in prosperity and joy. While the lighted lamp is important for all Hindu rituals and festivals, it is an integral part of Karthigai.

When the light on the top of the Tiruvannamalai Hill is lit on the Kartigai Deepam day, people worship it. They recite “Harohara”, meaning that one who sees the light of lights burning eternally in the heart through constant meditation attains immortality. The light on the hill of Arunachala brings the message that the Self or Lord Shiva is radiance personified. He is the light of lights.

This festival commemorates the bonding between brothers and sisters in South India like Bhaiya-Dhuj and Raakhi. Sisters pray for the prosperity and success of their brothers and light lamps to illuminate the relationship and bonds.

Special food is cooked for the festival. Puffed rice or pori is made into laddus with vellam or gur. Soaked rice, banana, coconut pieces and gur is made into a fine paste and cooked in ghee into round balls of delicious sweetmeats called Appam. As it is winter time, the vellam creates heat in the body. An adai or thick pancake/dosa is made with rice and all the dhals. This is a high protein food that also warms up the body to cope with damp and chilly atmosphere of November—December. Leftover crackers from Deepavali are exhausted in this festival as a tribute to the war God Kartikeya.

Lucknow is famous for its extreme polite and respectful behaviour. The language, Urdu, a flowery and rich in vocabulary. The popular saying is that Lucknowis will say, “You first, you first” and the time will fleet by..this is for going through a doorway, climbing a train, eating food…ust any action. My  son Jai was travelling once on a train between Delhi and Lucknow. A fight broke out between two groups–one was an older man and the other was a group of students. The fight deterirated so much that death threats were being exchanged–in a very poilite way. The older man said, “Please give me your address. I will come and settle the issue once in for all”. The students  answered, “Sir! You are older than us (and we owe that respect to you). So you please give usyour address and we will drop by and finish you off!”

So, since my oldest brother Ramana has chosen this topic, I have to render the respect and allow him to put in his blog in first. So RR I

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, DeliriousGaelikaa,  GrannymarMagpie11,  Nema, Noor, Ordinary Joe, Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get seventeen different flavours of the same topic.

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About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest is acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays.
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4 Responses to CULTURE

  1. Delirious says:

    I love the idea of a festival of lamps. China has a festival like that, and they hang the lanterns outside in parks, and people stroll through the parks at night to admire the lanterns. I would love to see the ones in your country.

    Like

  2. Rummuser says:

    Ayushmanu Bhava, Sadaa sukhi bhava.

    Like

  3. Grannymar says:

    Yet again I learn at your feet.

    Like

  4. blackwatertown says:

    Great story about the confrontation on the train.

    Like

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