South Indian Traditions – Part 2

South Indian culture

People in south India try their hardest to leave a good impression with their admirable collection of manners and subtleties that are interesting to learn.  These few customs, that always separate themselves from other communities, say much about their world view.

10. Eating habits

Metallic shine and durability of steel
Metallic shine and durability of steel

Traditional south Indian homes have a stash of steel, copper or brass dishes. When they’re not dining from Bone-Chinaware they eat from steel and aluminum plates and drink water from steel tumblers. During special occasions; people prefer to eat out of new steel plates.

11. Footwear

Shoes outside the house
What’s goes out, stays out

Most homes in south India have a designated mat or shoe stand outside their houses. Guests are expected to leave their footwear outside before they enter. Urban South Indian homes or even those living abroad have a shoe corner near the doorway.

12. “Namastey”

Crowded market in south India
As normal as it gets

People in south India pay attention to body language to understand intentions. Shaking hands is very common for business introductions and there’s no reason to Namastay (greet by joining hands together). Exceptions exist at formal gatherings or political rallies.

13. Seating

Sitting crossed leg on the floor is common in traditional south Indian households. Hindu religious festivals require people to be seated on the floor throughout the sermon. In a casual setting, elders at home sit at the head of dining tables and they are most likely to be served first.

14. Veshti

Man in a veshti
Ethnic chic

Veshti or a mundu  is a long piece of soft fabric that south Indian men wear. It is often alright to wear the Veshti to public places. Lungi is similar to Veshti but it is stitched to resemble a very wide skirt. Some people will ask that people not wear a Lungi outdoors and leave it for home wear. This rule is unpopular and some south Indians may ignore it.

15. Loose Veshti


Lungi in south India
Not too high not too low

A veshti should be wrapped tightly. Wearing them loose looks sloppy, although, older men sometimes don’t care and leave their veshti loose or folded up all the way to their thighs.

16. Polite gesture

Similar to Catholics who cross themselves; people in south India point their fingertips to other people’s feet and point it back to their eyes. This is a common gesture when people accidentally stamp another person’s foot.

17. Cutlery

Steel plates that are rimmed in south India are common
Hidden in the back of every home in south India

South Indians try to avoid cutlery as much as possible. They eat most of their food by hand and use spoons occasionally to slurp up soupy dishes. In rural south India, people don’t mind drinking liquids directly from their rimmed plates.

Click Here to Read Part 1.

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