Culture Refers to the Accumulated Essay

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In history, in most of the Indian families, the inheritance of the estates of the family is left to the lineage of males in the family. Though since the year 1956, the law in India has always treated females and males as equals in matters of inheritance where there is no legal will written. Currently, Indians have become wiser and are using legal wills for the inheritance and succession of property. The usage of legal wills at of the year 2004 stands at about 20%.

The rate of divorce in India is extremely low. It stands at 1% as compared to 40% which is experienced in the U.S. These statistics of divorce do not, however, give a complete picture of the divorce situation in India. This is because many marriages that end up being split do so without a formal divorce. There is a research gap in the scientific studies or surveys that are conducted on marriages in India where the perspective of both the husbands and the wives are not solicited in-depth.

Surveys that have been conducted regarding Indian marriages suggest that the issues with marriages that take place under the Indian culture are the same trend wise to those which affect other marriages around the world. This is true for both arranged marriages and the others where the men and women choose their spouse to be. The studies also found that the rate of divorce is rising greatly in India with the divorce rates in urban areas being much higher than suburban and rural areas. The studies also found that about 80% of the divorces which occur in India are started by women.

Another recent study that has been conducted on arranged marriages showed that the trend in India is shifting away from arranged marriages. The survey was conducted in the year 2005 on over 41,500 households which are in 33 territories and states in India. They found that the trends of marriage in India were slowly becoming similar to those in other countries such as Japan and China about 40 years ago. There are fewer arranged marriages which are conducted without the consent of the bride and groom. The study also found that majority of the arranged marriages in India were conducted with the consent of the bride and the groom. The percentage of marriages that are self-arranged were also increasing in India and especially in the urban parts of the country. These self-arranged marriages are also known as love marriages. Another independent study conducted in the year 2006, found that between 10-20% of marriages which take place in urban areas of India are self-arranged.

Religious ceremonies

India is a multicultural and multi-religious society which has many holidays, festivities and ceremonies all-round the year. The religious festivals of the country which are popular include the festival of Navratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Diwali, Dussehra and Rakshabandhan.

Diwali is one the religious festivals that is celebrated by multiple religions such as the Jains, Sikhs and Hindus. Diwali is also known as Deepavali or Devali in some regions in India. It is the 'festival of lights' which is celebrated somewhere between mid-October and mid-December for various reasons. For the Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivities of the year and it is celebrated in families by people performing various traditional activities in their own homes while for the Jains, the marks the attainment of nirvana or moksha by Mahavira in 527 BCE Upadhye, 1982()

Diwali is a national holiday in India as well as other Asian countries and others around the world such as Nepal, Mauritias, Myanmar, Malaysia, Guyana, Mauritius, Fiji and Singapore. Diwali comes from the word Deepavali which when translated means 'a row of lamps' and this is why Diwali is known as the festival of lights. Diwali involves people lighting small clay lamps which are known as diyas or dipas in Sanskrit which are filled with oil. They are lit in order to signify that good triumphs over evil. The lamps are usually kept on the whole night and the people clean their houses in order to make the goddess Lakshmi to feel welcome. Firecrackers are also burst in order to keep away any evil spirits Bhagvat, 1968()

During the celebration of Diwali, the celebrants usually wear new clothes and they share their snacks and sweets with other family members and their friends. The festival usually starts with Dhanteras which is the day on which most of the Indian members of the business community begin their financial year. The second day of the Diwali festival is known as Naraka Chaturdasi and it marks the vanquishing of the demon known as Naraka by Lord Krishna together with his wife, Satyabhama. The third day of the Diwali festival is known as Amavasya and it marks the worship of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi in her most benevolent mood fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. The day of Amavasya also tells the story of the dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu which vanquished the Bali and he was banished to Patala. On the fourth day of Diwali which is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali went to patala and took the reins of his new kingdom there. Yama Dvitiya is the fifth day of Diwali and is also known as Bhai Dooj and it is the day when the sisters invite their brothers to visit their homes Bhagvat, 1968()

Diwali begins in late Ashvin which is usually the days between the months of September and October and it ends in early Kartika which is between October and November. The days in Ashvin are in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha of the month while the days which are in Kartik are in the bright fortnight of the month which is referred to as Shukla Paksha Johnson, 2007.

The first day is usually referred to as Dhan Teras while the last day is known as Yama Dvitiya which signifies the second day of the bright half of Kartika. Each day of the Diwali festival marks a particular celebration of each of the six principles story of the festival Hansen, 2000()

There are several events that are associated with Diwali for the Hindus. First is the return of Rama 14 years after banishment (Vancas). To welcome him back, diyas or lamps of ghee were lit in rows of 20 Johnson, 2007.

The second event is the killing of Narakasura which is celebrated one day before Diwali as Naraka Chaturdashi and which commemorates the killing of the evil demon that is known as Narakasura who wrecked a lot of havoc. This is the same day when the wife of Krishna, Satyabhama killed Narakasura during the festival of Dwapara yuga. In another version of the Hindu stories, it is the demon that was killed by Krishna or that Krishna's wife was provoked by Krishna to kill Narshna thus defeating Indra Singh, 1958()

Another event is Govardhan Puja which is celebrated a day after the festival of Diwali. It is the day when Krishna defeated Indra who was the deity of rain and thunder. This story states that Krishna saw preparations for an offering which is done annually going on and asked his father, Nanda, about this. He had a heated debate with the villages concerning what their 'dharma' was. The people were farmers and they were to do their duty and concentrate on protecting their cattle and farming Hooja, 2004.

He then said that all members of the human race need to do their 'karma' to the best of their distinct abilities and not to pray for the occurrence of natural phenomenon. This led to the villages to become convinced by Krishna and they did not proceed with the special prayer (puja). Indra was then angered greatly and he flooded the village. However, Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan and held it up in order to protect the people and the cattle from rain. Indra accepted defeat and ended up recognizing Krishna as the supreme one Jaffrelot, 1993.

This is the basis of the philosophy of Karma.

Diwali has the spiritual meaning of creating an awareness of the inner light. This is central to the philosophy of the Hindus which asserts that there is something that exists beyond the physical mind and body of the individual which is pure, eternal and infinite. This is referred to as the Atman. The celebration of the festival of Diwali as the victory of good over all that is evil. It refers to the light of the higher knowledge that dispels all fear and ignorance in the individual. It is believed that ignorance is what masks the true nature of the individual and not the body of the person. This is the unchanging, immanent, infinite and transcendent reality. With this kind of awakening come compassion and an awareness of the individuals which brings about peace and joy that is referred to as anand. Just like the way we celebrate birth of the…[continue]

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