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Thread: INDIAN Culture Help

  1. #21
    Cry-Baby Girl
    Hey! I'm Rachel. Although not Indian myself I've studied Indian culture for quite a while and would be happy to help answer any questions (though no one has posted in a while). I'll probably have a couple questions myself.

  2. #22
    I'm Karthik and I'm an indian, so i would love to help you all.

    About me...
    I'm a South Indian. If any help is needed concerning rituals, languages, behavior; etc, I'm here!!

    Languages I can help with-
    Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali (I don't know it personally, but still will be able to help.), Kannada, Malayalam (Again, don't know it, barring a few words..can help if needed.)

    I can also help with the (major) myths and the legends of India, the epics and, of course, the Bhagvad Gita, and the Bhagvatam (A work on the creation of the world and the Incarnations of Lord Vishnu).

    I hope I'll be able to help!!


  3. #23
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    Hey! My name is Nadia, and even though I'm not an Indian, I'd like to help out! But only in the language stuff, coz I'm not Hindu and I don't know anything about the culture and religion. I can be of help with some Hindi, and loads of Bengali, since it's my native language (I'm Bangladeshi).So I hope I can help out!


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  4. #24

    love to help

    Hey! I'm from Bangladesh too, and I can help a bit with the Hindi, and if you need help with Bengali, then that'll be even better! However, I'm not so sure about the Indian culture and religion, but I am a Muslim, so I can help you there!

  5. #25
    Hello! I need some help on what goes on during Diwali.

    I want to write a fic about Padma and Parvati, in it I want them to go to India to celebrate Diwali with some family. I just need to know what kind of things they would be doing. I believe Diwali lasts for 5 days, is this correct?

    I know here that Hindi's celebrate the festival with fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. But that's all I know. Is it custom that a big party is thrown? Or do families just stay with themselves?

    Hindus wake up well before dawn, as early as two in the morning, have a fragrant oil bath and wear new clothes. They light small lamps all around the house and draw elaborate kolams /rangolis outside their homes. They perform a special puja with offerings to Lord Sri Krishna or Lord Sri Vishnu, as he liberated the world from the demon Narakasura on this day.

    Is this a major tradition during Diwali? What I mean is, does every family do this? Sometimes I find that internet sources tell what USE to be done, but not what is currently practiced in societies today.

    Every detail you have would be extremely helpful! Thank you so much in advance!

  6. #26
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    In cities, oil baths are a lot less common. Lamps are lit in a lot of houses. People buy and burst lots of crackers, and sometimes, especially in the case of apartments, even non-Hindus do this (especially if they have kids XD).

    Crackers (that's what they're called here) vary-- there's the sparkler, which a thin metal rod covered with some chemical which burns either crackling, or in a certain colour. There flowerpots, which are conical in shape and let out a fountain like (like this or this) Then there are a variety of bombs, varying in noise, such as the bijli (which means "electricity") which is small and red, or the walas, which are basically a lot bijlis tied together (they're sold this way). They're basically differentiated by their name-- there's the hundred wala, the thousand wala, the ten thousand wala... There're also bigger bombs, which have the most unique names, such as the hydrogen bomb or the atom bomb. ) Then there are chakras (which means "wheel"). They're shaped like (guess what ) wheels. Once you light them, they spin aroudn and around on the ground.

    There're also rockets-- the cheaper ones look somewhat like this, and are sold in packs of ten or so. A bottled with sand in it is taken, a rocket is stuck in and lit, and it goes up. These often burst with a pop or fly with a trail of fire. The costlier ones look like cylinders and stand up straight on their own. When lit, they make a noise, go up and burst like this or this or this... I think you get the picture. XD.

    I'm not really sure how long they're celebrated, because I think it varies from place to place. I celebrate Diwali for the crackers XD.

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  7. #27
    Miss K
    Hello! It's been a long time since I've ventured into this thread...


    The buying of new clothes, pots for kitchen, etc is definitely a tradition we have. We also clean the whole house and try to make a fresh start in life with all our business, school, friends and family -- if your mom and grandma had a fight last week, they'll forget it after Diwali, clean slate and the like.

    I've never had an oil bath. *lol* Good food/feasting is in order. Here in the U.S. where I live, fireworks are banned, so we light lamps and set off a few sparklers (no real rockets or anything). We also pray to Rama, whose victory over Ravana is what you celebrate on Diwali.

    The lamps are oil lamps--we use ghee which is Indian homemade butter and set it in the cup of the lamp, and then make a wick out of cotton, stick it in the ghee and light it with a match. As the light burns, the ghee melts and eventually there is a pool of oil with the wick floating in it. Very pretty. The lamps themselves are usually handpainted and decorated. We also leave food out for the gods and goddesses (the lights are meant to bring them to our home).

    I've only had a one day celebration at my house, and I'm not sure how that's done in India, but there's definitely a main Diwali day...I don't know when it is, but that's the day on which America-living Indians usually celebrate.

    Whether you throw a party or host a pooja--long prayer ceremony--depends on your family and how religious/traditional/social with other Indian families in the community they are. We do a pooja because my parents are religious and not very extroverted.

    That's all I have for you!

  8. #28
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    I do agree with BB and Miss K on the celebrations on the day of Diwali. However, here are a few more details.

    The rituals I'm describing here are those related to Maharashtrians, because diffent communities in india have different ways of celebration. So, this is basically only for Parvati and Padma.


    Diwali does not just include one day of wearing new clothes and lighting lamps. It extends to five days, and each day is celebrated with equal pomp. For Maharashtrians, it falls on the last four days of the month Ashwina and first two days of the month Karthika.

    The five days of Diwali:

    1. Dhan teras- This day marks the beginning of Diwali. People buy gold and utensils. This falls on the thirteenth day of the second half of the lunar month.

    2. Naraka Chaturdashi- Fourteenth day of the second half of the lunar month. This is a new moon day. This is the day when, as BB and Miss K said, we wear new clothes and light lamps. I'm not sure about fragrant oil, though... I've never done that. The people also make a coulourful design sort of a thing at their doorstep. This is called as Rangoli.

    Maharashtrians usually prepare karanji and chiwda on Diwali day.

    3. Lakshmi Pooja- This is the actual day for North Indians, but Parvati and Padma would celebrate the main day of Diwali on Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day, Godess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are worshipped.

    4. Padva/ Bali Pratipada- This day comemmorates king Bali. Men present gifts to their wives on this day.

    5. Bhaubeej- This day is the day for brother and sister love. Sisters usually give gifts to their brothers on this day.

    Hmm... I hope this is sufficient! Ask any question that you may have!
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  9. #29
    Well I certainly don't wake up at 2 in the morning but it's down in our scriptures that we've got to rise and bathe before sunrise. So that would be normally before six in the morning. Then we go out (unfortunately we can't do it inside the house) and burst crackers (but this is done to rouse the neighbourhood XD)

    Diwali is celebrated for two main reasons: Narakachathurdasi and the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya. Narakachathurdasi is the slaying of the demon king Naraka (Note: this takes place during the time of Lord Krishna). Also, the reason we celebrate Diwali by lighting lamps is to welcome Lord Ram home after his 14-year exile, (The time-period of Lord Ram's reign comes ages before Lord Krishna. But in essentially both of them are the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.)

    Now down south, Tamil Brahmins celebrate the lighting-of-lamps festival on a different day called Karthigai.

  10. #30
    The days of Diwali that Pooja (Ginny Weasley Potter) are celebrated not only in Maharashtra, but in the North as well. Especially Dhan Teras, when my mother always buys a gold coin, and Bhai Dhuj (that is what I call it atleast). On Bhai Dhuj, the sister puts tikka (a red coloured sacred powder) on her brother's forehead, give them gifts, and, in return, the brother gives her blessings- which in today's world is either some cash or gift.

    Also, during the Diwali time, people have a lot of Card parties. In these parties, people play various card games ad often gamble money in it. This is because on Diwali the Goddess of Wealth, Lakhmi, is said to come and visit your home. That is one more reason that houses are lit with lamps, so that Lakshmi can be guided to your on the moonless night. Also, most businessmen start new cash registers on Diwali after they do Lakshmi Pooja. Lakshmi Pooja is generally first done at your work place and then at your home. After that come the fireworks! Also, as someone already mentioned, Diwali is celebrated by almost everyone in India.I know that all of my non-Hindu friends burst crackers on Diwali.

    Around Diwali time people often visit their family and close friends and distribute sweets. This can get as elaborate or as simple as you want. You should remember that the celebration differs according to caste, region and social class. For example card parties are held by people who are of a higher social class.

    Oh, yeah, one more thing! As Miss K mentioned Diwali is Hindus' cleaning time. My mum cleans the house from top to bottom, empties every cupboard, replaces old stuff, etc. This is done before Diwali. A lot of people also get their house whitewashed before Diwali. On Diwali other than Rangoli and lamps, flowers are also hung in the house. Usually Marigold flowers along with trees of a mango tree are hung at the entrance, etc.

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