This past Friday and Monday, I had the privilege of sharing about Indian culture at my son’s school. What made it especially joyful was that Radha, an Indian friend, joined me and made it much better than I ever could have done. We talked about some basic Indian facts, showed videos about Indian culture, and taught the students a few Bollywood dance steps. On Monday, we took Indian snack mixture for the students to enjoy, and Radha created henna tattoos (mendhi) for everyone who wanted one. We had so much fun, and, hopefully, the students learned a couple of things that they’ll retain!
To extend the experience, I’m sharing with you some of what the students (and I) learned. Feel free to break into some moves of your own when you watch the dance videos!
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- Over 1.25 billion people live in India, making it the second largest country in the world.
- India is made up of 29 states and 7 territories. The latest state, Telangana, just formed in 2014.
- India has over 1600 languages and dialects. Although Hindi is the national language, India has 18 official languages.
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This first video shows a family with 6 kids traveling in India. (Now, that’s what I call brave!) Although some of the tips are definitely influenced by the family’s American background, like the one about using essential oils, overall the video is extremely well done.
The following video is a humorous view from a new arrival! This young man was in India for 3 weeks when he made the video. It reveals the beginning stages of cultural appreciation, and shock, that probably many undergo when visiting India.
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No discussion about Indian culture would be complete without mentioning Bollywood! Although I did not mention these facts to the students, it interested me to learn that Bollywood is as old as Hollywood, although people disagree about which came first. The name “Bollywood” stems from the 1970s and is, obviously, a play on “Hollywood,” combining it with the name of one of India’s great cities, Bombay (now known as Mumbai). Although Bollywood has a larger worldwide audience than Hollywood (would you have guessed that?) it doesn’t draw nearly as much revenue.
With all of that said, enjoy these great dance videos. The first is of a group of children dancing to the song Batameez Dil. The second shows some of the dance moves that we taught the students. The song is called Jai Ho and comes from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Be careful though…Jai Ho is addictive!