India is a land of strange rituals. More strange are the reasons behind these unusual customs. Some of them are odd and hard to believe; sometimes, you have to take it with a grain of salt. However, there are some that come with proper, valid, SCIENTIFIC rationality. Like –
Greeting with a Namaskara.
This is a popular way of greeting people, especially in India. The gesture requires you to join your palms together and make a little bow in respect. Wondering where the science is? Well, when your palms are joined, the fingertips touch each other.
|Namaskara; Source: Wiki|
Serving food on banana leaves.
This is an ancient custom still followed in many parts of India. Some people hold the notion that it saves the world from pollution. Banana leaves being biodegradable can be easily disposed. However, there’s another fact which is not known to many.
|Food on a banana leaf; Source: Travel + Leisure|
Eating with your hand.
It’s not unhygienic. In fact, it energises your body, mind and soul. That particular posture, when you are holding food in your hand and about to insert it into your mouth, is a yogic ‘mudra.’ The extended fingers represent the five elements of nature – fire, water, earth, air, and space.
|Eating with hands; Source: ifood.tv|
Did you think of it only as a fashion statement? There’s more. Pierced ears contribute to a better intellect. They strengthen a person’s reasoning and decision-making abilities. Further, they also save the ears from diseases and disorders.
|Pierced ears; Source: Style & Fashion|
Think apart from the colour henna imparts on your hand. Isn’t it a herbal medicine as well? Well, this is proven. Now, here’s the scientific reason. Henna is cold; it works on the blood and lowers the body temperature.
|Bridal mehendi (henna); Source: Fashionkidunia.com|
Wearing a silver toe ring on the second toe.
It’s beyond fashion. The second toe ring has a certain nerve which leads straight to the heart through the uterus. Science says that a silver toe ring in this finger helps in enhancing the health of the uterus. It also assists in the regulation of blood flow and helps cure irregular menstrual cycles.
|Toe rings; Source: WomanDot|
Hanging chillies and lemon in the entrance of residences.
This is so damn common. We see it almost everywhere. People hand chillies and lemons believing that it can keep the evil and misfortune away from a home.
|Man holding chillies and lemon tied on a thread; Source: The National, UAE|
Ringing the bell at the entrance of a temple.
This is a practice as per the Agama Sastra, which says that the bell helps in warding off the evil and keeping the grounds of the temple pious. However, science has a different explanation. It says the loud ring keeps people away from distractions.
|Temple bells; Source: Alekhya Homes|
Having desserts after a meal.
People with the sweet tooth are going to love this fact. Indian meals are mostly spicy. Did you know that spices kindle the digestive enzymes in the body? And that they activate acidic substances?
|A plateful of Indian sweets; Source: NineFineStuffs|
Consuming sesame seeds and jaggery during Makar Sankranti.
The celebrations of Makar Sankranti happen when winter is at its peak. A combination of sesame seeds (til) and jaggery (gur) when consumed help the body to keep warm. They contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar, which have heat generating properties.
|Til-gur laddoo during Makar Sankranti; Source: Rediff|
It’s more like Aaa-Ooo-Mmm. We all have heard it a zillion times in our lives perhaps. Ever wondered about the logic? Well, OM, the mantra is full of physics! It’s a practical example of syllables that direct to sound, resonance and vibration. The sound of ‘Aaa’ activates the nervous system in the chest and stomach via resonance.
|The importance of chanting Om; Source: MindBodyGreen|
Our ancestors had a scientific outlook which we can never possibly fathom. They were way wiser, logical and rational than we are. Let’s not question every ritual that we come across. Let’s try and understand the hidden reason first.
Do you know of any such everyday custom? Can you provide a scientific explanation for it? Kindly share.