Have you ever visited the home of an Indian friend and been confused by some of the strange things you’ve seen? Well, there are certain cultures and traditions that Indians do that have become inherent—but perhaps, when explained, can give you insight into your friend’s life.
1. Touching An Elder’s Feet
Hindus believe god resides in everyone—they believe elders give blessings and in some ways, god blesses you through that elder. It’s a sign of respect and something you do when you arrive or leave the house of the elders.
2. Saluting After A Feet Touch
Hindus believe it is disrespectful to touch things with your feet. That means if you accidently touch someone with your feet you extend your right hand out and bring it back to your heart or head to apologize. This also follows the belief that God resides in everything and that is disrespectful to God to touch something with your feet. This respect applies to people and books.
If you open an Indian person’s fridge, you’ll see yogurt containers, which seems pretty normal, however, if you open those containers you’ll see all kinds of vegetable medleys. Containers of any kind are often reused for food storage. A lot of Indians also like to use everything they have and for multiple uses.
Indians will shower before a prayer. Hinduism is an at home faith and so before a ceremony, one must be completely cleaned. Some Indian women will not pray if it is that time of the month, because of the cleanliness ideal before a prayer.
5. The Red Dot
A red dot on a woman’s forehead means she is married. A bindi is usually worn by a younger girl for celebrations such as weddings or parties. The vermillion is what the red dot is made from, although it is not worn as often in America.
6. Chili & Lemons
Hindus believe in the evil eye, or someone being subconsciously jealous for great things that happen to them. So to ward off the evil eye, you’ll often see chili and lemons strung together hanging outside homes and on the back of Rickshaws.
Indian names, depending on what part of India you live in, are a system. In the northern part of India you have your first name, then the middle name which is your father’s first name, then your family name. In the south of India, your mother’s name is your middle name and her family name is your last name. Indians also don’t name after the living, so names are new and unique to each person.
Indians also often have two names, one that is your birth name and then one that’s given by the astrological sign that dictates the letter your second name should begin with. That second name is the one that acquaintances and strangers should call you. Your birth name that your parents give you is reserved for close family only. This doesn’t happen as often nowadays, but if you hear your friend’s parents calling them different names—now you know why.