If you have ever visited India, you must have noticed that people in India often join their hands together and say “Namaste” when they greet someone or welcome a guest. This is a traditional Indian gesture of respect and gratitude. In Sanskrit, “Namaste” means “I bow to you” or “I honor the divine in you”. Joining hands together while saying “Namaste” is a common practice in India, and it has a deep cultural significance. In this blog, we will explore the reasons behind this tradition and its importance in Indian culture.
Historical and Spiritual Significance of Namaste
The tradition of joining hands together to greet someone has been a part of Indian culture for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated from the Hindu Vedic scriptures, which suggest that the human body is divided into different energy centers or chakras. The hands are said to be the center of the body’s energy, and by joining them together, one is believed to be invoking the divine energy within oneself and the other person.
Apart from its spiritual significance, joining hands is also seen as a sign of respect and humility in Indian culture. It is a way of acknowledging the presence of the other person and recognizing their importance. By joining hands, one is also showing that they come in peace and are not a threat.
Cultural Importance of Namaste
In Indian culture, greeting someone by joining hands is a sign of hospitality and warmth. It is a common practice in various settings such as religious ceremonies, social gatherings, and even in formal settings such as business meetings. This gesture is used to show respect to elders, guests, and even strangers. It is also a way of expressing gratitude and showing appreciation for the other person.
Tourism and Globalization
With the rise of tourism and globalization, the tradition of joining hands to greet someone has gained popularity outside of India. Many people from different cultures have adopted this gesture as a way of showing respect and acknowledging the other person’s presence. It has become a symbol of peace, unity, and harmony.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Indian ‘Namaste’ became a greeting of choice for world leaders, who wanted to greet their counterparts, without touching them or risking the spread of the virus.
Expected Etiquettes and Mannerism from Tourists and Foreigners
As a tourist or a foreigner visiting India, it is important to understand and respect the local customs and traditions. When in India, it is recommended to use the traditional greeting of “Namaste” while joining hands together. This gesture is well received by the locals and is a sign of cultural sensitivity and respect. It is also important to dress modestly and appropriately, especially when visiting religious places.
In conclusion, the tradition of joining hands to greet someone is an important part of Indian culture. It has historical, spiritual, and cultural significance and is a way of showing respect, gratitude, and hospitality. As a tourist or a foreigner, it is important to be aware of and respect local customs and traditions, and joining hands to greet someone is a simple but powerful way of doing so.