Hindu Culture of Kerala
How Hinduism has shaped Kerala culture.
Kerala’s culture is firmly rooted in Vedas. Vedas are the earliest literary record of the culture in Kerala as well as India. Kerala’s culture is synthesis of many cultures, resulted from the immigration of foreigners to Kerala.
The cultural tradition is unique. There are some basic principles which have made the culture unique. They are the concepts of Dharma (normative order), Karma (personal moral commitment, deed) and Jati (caste). These notions still guide the social and cultural activities of the people.
The rigidification of Hindu society had affected the position of Indian women of past. Women had possessed only an inferior position in the family and society. They were disallowed from performing religious duties. Education was denied. British introduced English had two-fold impacts for good. Inclusion of western values and ideologies among the educated people and the rise of cultural and social reformation movements were that two.
Now the woman is a store-house of tradition and culture and in contrast a volcano of seething energy of strength and power that can motivate a whole generation to change its values, its aspirations, its very concept of civilized life.
Kerala has a temple culture which is reflected in the network of shrines and sacred places. Pilgrimage has played an important part in promoting interaction and cultural affinity among the people. The people of Kerala keep culture of diversity dear to chest – as knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits of a multi-religious society.
Most Hindu temples in Kerala don't allow non-hindus to enter inside the temples. Also many temples strictly obeserve a dress code for males and females, in few temples men's have to wear a mundu and have to strip off their shirts before entering in. Women can wear saree or salwar suit.
Hindus, Christians and Muslims live together and participate together in public life sectors, creating one culture for three religions.
Marriage ceremony has its own rites, rituals, customs etc according to religion.
Kerala has its own art culture and the tolerance culture is a role model.
Other few interesting facts:-
People in Kerala usually eat with their right hand, and that to with the help of their fingers. You can ask for a fork, but the traditional practice here of eating food is with hand, well it will take you some time to learn this art of eating. Right hand is mostly used for all good things, like to accept things and offer things, meanwhile the left hand is basically used for unsavoury function like removing shoes, cleaning your feet and so on.
Keralans are generally very sociable and are glad to meet visitors. You may be quized by them about your background, family, job etc. The people of Kerala may find you travelling alone, travelling in second class or staying in cheap hotels a bit strange. And you can too ask them questions, as it will not be taken amiss.
In Kerala kissing and embracing is considered as part of sex, so avoid it in public. Well in cosmopolitan cities like Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram, you can see young couples holding hands and if you would do the same will not catch much attention. Meanwhile in Moppila districts of northern Kerala, you should even avoid physical contact with your partner.
Remove your shoes while entering any private home, while sitting also avoid pointing the sole of your feet at anyone. Accident contact of someone's foot is always followed by an apology.