Showing posts with label strange customs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strange customs. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Strange Scientific Reasons Behind Everyday Indian Customs and Habits

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.

Science behind namaste or namaskar - the Indian way of greeting
Namaskara; Source: Wiki
In these tips lie the pressure points associated with the sensory organs and the brain. As you press them, you activate the points. The signals are sent to the brain, which suggests that you should remember the person you are seeing for a long time. Also, if you think of it from the hygiene point of view, isn’t it a better way of greeting people than a handshake?

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.

Science behind food on a banana leaf
Food on a banana leaf; Source: Travel + Leisure
These leaves are a rich source of vitamins. Whenever hot food is served on them, the vitamins get added in it. A healthy custom, I’d say. And yes, the ‘biodegradable’ thing holds true as well.

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.
Science behind eating with hands
Eating with hands; Source:
Each finger is responsible for contributing to the food in one way or the other. Science as proved it that food consumed with hands stimulates a person’s sense of taste, smell, and texture better. The digestive enzymes are secreted properly and the consumption of food becomes a delightful experience.

Piercing ears.

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.
Science behind piercing ears
Pierced ears; Source: Style & Fashion
You’d be surprised to know that pierced ears can minimise talkativeness. Yes, they help in disciplining speech. Interestingly, women in India have always been expected to pierce their ears. Don’t you smell a misogynist mind behind this?

Applying henna.

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.

Science behind applying mehendi or henna
Bridal mehendi (henna); Source:
Yet again, Henna also acts on the nervous system and calms down the nerves. It’s a great stress buster and is this is why it is recommended during weddings and rituals. Style goes hand in hand with health, you can say.

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
Silver is a great conductor and can absorb the earth’s polar energy, thereby passing it on to the human body. No wonder these rings are still recommended for married women.

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.

Science behind chillies and lemon tied on a thread on entrances.
Man holding chillies and lemon tied on a thread; Source: The National, UAE
Here’s the real story – the cotton thread which supports the hanging chillies and lemon, absorb the juices of the edibles. The combination is like a natural pesticide that keeps away disease causing agents. In short, ‘misfortunes’ and ‘evil’ is kept at bay.

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.

Science behind ringing temple bells
Temple bells; Source: Alekhya Homes
It’s like a reminder to stay attentive; it helps us concentrate on the being devoted more than thinking about world outside. In short, it’s a concentration booster.

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?

Science behind having sweets after meals
A plateful of Indian sweets; Source: NineFineStuffs
Both the processes are needed so that the digestion of food occurs to the utmost. Now comes the dessert part. Sweets contain sugars (carbohydrates) that put a brake to the ongoing process of digestion. Simple, isn't it?

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.

Science behind consuming sesame seeds and jaggery during Makar Sankranti
Til-gur laddoo during Makar Sankranti; Source: Rediff
Did you know this sweet delicacy is also a cure for bed wetting? Indeed, when health comes in sweet packages, it is always welcome.

Chanting ‘OM.’

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.

Science behind chanting OM
The importance of chanting Om; Source: MindBodyGreen
‘Ooo’ on the other hand sensitises the chest and throat. Lastly, the sound of  ‘Mmm’ resonates in the nose as well as the brain. So, here’s a single word that’s looking after the health of your chest, stomach, throat, nose, and brain. The sound waves help in enhancing your concentration, calming the mind, and lowering mental stress. Wonderful, isn’t it?

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.