Throughout the past 3 days we have been spending most of our time at the International American School of Chennai working with our ensemble groups to create content for the performance. However, while doing this, we have picked up and learned bits and pieces of the incredibly interesting Indian culture surrounding us. Here are some little intriguing aspects of this Hindu culture:
1) While roaming through the temples, and on the streets one will notice the young girls and babies dressed beautifully, like little princesses. One would then also notice the thick layer of eyeliner decorating their petite expressions. I recently learned this dark eyeliner is to scare the demons away, and keep the children safe.
2) The women in India usually wear a bindi on their forehead, however I never questioned why. I learned it is to protect them from being hypnotized, as it rests above where the third eye lies; the intuition.
3) In the temples there are holes in the wall of each prayer section, where the God statues rest. When looking through these holes, one would be able to see the goddesses. Also, mirrors are strategically placed around the temple for the same reason. For example, one prayer area had a large statue of Shiva, and if one were to look into the mirror beside him, they would be able to see his wife’s reflection; Parvati is her name. The reason why the Goddesses are not able to be seen directly, or at their regular size, is because in the Hindu religion they believe that certain God’s and Goddesses are too powerful to be gazed upon directly, and therefore need to be seen through a reflection or hole in the wall.
These little aspects of the Hindu culture is what makes it so intriguing and unique; there is so much more to discover about this religion and the traditions it consists of.