Both the Indian and the American cultures are very proud and rich heritages that are seemingly poles apart but are similar in some ways. The two countries constantly observe and gauge each other. They also inadvertently try to imitate each other and in that process we can spot the differences between the two unique cultures. Here are few of the pop-out differences, some quirky ones, and a few funny ones.
The purpose of this article is not to debate if one culture is better than the other but to give the American guest a better understanding of the Indian culture. In the last few decades the Indian and the American cultures have undergone unprecedented changes that have led to westernization of Indian culture as well as the Americans developing keen interest in practicing yoga and developing a taste for Indian cuisine.
- There is a lot of importance given to society in the Indian culture. An individual’s actions have an impact on the society’s perception of that individual. Attending a school, interacting with people in a particular manner, wearing a certain outfit, and even the person one chooses to marry decides the type of individual you are.
The American culture emphasizes on the individual instead of trying to appease the society. An individual concentrates on his own aims and goals instead of worrying about the society.
- Family is considered the next important priority. Children are molded in a particular way from a very early age and the significance of family is impressed upon them. They are guided on the part they will have to play when they grow up.
American children are brought up to be independent with unique views and opinions. Though family values are important, the individual is expected to take responsibility for his/her decisions.
- Marriages are arranged by families rather than being decided by the bride and the groom. In rural India, arranged marriages are still the order of the day. Families decide who their son or daughter should marry and going against this norm spells trouble. This concept is gradually being supplanted by marriages of choice in urban India.
Families play no part in selecting a partner for the son or daughter.
- Joint families are still encouraged in rural India, where parents, their son, his wife and children, grandchildren – all of them live in the same house. In urban India, the idea of nuclear families is more popular and prevalent.
The concept of joint family does not exist in the USA. Kids are considered old enough to support themselves when they turn 18. They move out of their parents’ and start on part time employment even as they attend college.
- Dress code is considered important, especially for women. Clothing that is deemed appropriate and respectable for women include sari, Salwar kameez, chudidar, and long skirts. Revealing and tight-fitting clothes are frowned upon, particularly in rural India. In recent times, however, this moral policing has been challenged by many women’s organizations and women in cities and larger towns do not hesitate to dress as they please.
American woman do not have any restrictions on how they should dress though the unwritten rule is to dress appropriately as the occasion demands. There are always formal and informal dress codes to adhere to.
Hope you found this article informative! Do check out “Differences between American and Indian Food”