AMERICAN CULTURE VS SIKH CULTURE 5
AmericanCulture VS Sikh Culture
AmericanCulture VS Sikh Culture
Differentcultures follow various customs, rituals, traditions, and languagesthat guide their everyday life. The American Society and the SikhPunjab are no exceptions. In perspective, both cultures seem to bethe opposite of one another. The Sikh culture appears to hold on toits traditional customs while the American culture seems to be moremodernized and open in nature. As a result, there are manysimilarities and differences between the American and Sikh culturesbased on their values, traditions, cuisines, religion, and marriagepractices.
Oneof the most notable similarities between the American and the Sikhcultures can be witnessed in the way they both carry outcelebrations. The Sikh people perform many dances in specialcelebrations, especially during festivals, harvests, and weddings(Campbell & Kean, 2013). Similarly, the American culture engagesin celebration during various events, which allow people to dancewhile enjoying the occasion. Appropriate examples of such activitiesinclude religious, folk, and food festivals, as well as artscommemorations. In both societies, the cultural festivals take placeseasonally, and a lot of individuals engage in them.
Consequently,both the American and the Sikh Punjab cultures have fully embracedthe aspect of entrepreneurship. Business ventures have created a lotof jobs for the Sikh Punjab who now more than ever rely on anenterprise to promote the welfare of their families. Companies in theform of industries are the backbone of the American economy. The U.S.culture has no fear of taking risks in a bid to create wealth.
Artis yet another factor that the Sikh Punjab and the American cultureshave in common. The film sector is one of the industries that hasexperienced tremendous growth in both societies for the last fewyears. According to Jagraj (2009), people spend a considerable amountof time watching movies as part of their entertainment. Producerscreate movies based on stories that have an impactful message. Theproduction of the movies has to be in a manner that makes it possibleto enhance the customs, beliefs, and traditions of the culture. Everytime there is a video release, a large number of people queue to buytickets for the show. Companies such as Hollywood and Bollywood whichare correlated to this cultures are some of the most reputable in theworld.
Concerningequality, the American culture perceives men and women to be equalwhile the Sikh culture perceives men to be superior and women to beinferior. More often than not, men in the Sikh Punjab culture have ahigher level of education (Campbell & Kean, 2013). Unlike theAmerican culture that allows both men and women to work, the SikhPunjabi society expects men to go to work while the women remain athome to handle house chores. People in the Sikh culture have a veryclose attachment to their families. The Sikh society places a lot ofvalue on long-term relationships.
Additionally,in the Sikh culture, they put family above everything and will alwaysfind time to spend with them (Jagraj, 2009). Conversely, individualsdo not have a close attachment to their relatives in the Americanculture. Most of the people in the American society leave theirparents after attaining the maturity age of 18. Short-termrelationships are the common trend in the U.S., and thereforeindividuals only commit to others for a short period. Soudar &Fee illustrated that whereas the American culture takes on a nuclearfamily setting, the Sikh culture predominantly adopts a shared homeenvironment in which the parents, male children, their spouses, aswell as the grandchildren, reside in one house (2013). The family issuch a deep rooted factor in the Sikh culture that individuals takeinto account their families when making growth objectives. It is notsurprising for them to adjust targets that are not able toincorporate the needs of their household (Campbell & Kean, 2013).The American culture has a goal orientation, which makes anindividual ready to get things done in an attempt to attain theirobjectives. This goes to show that people in the American culture areself-reliant and make personal decisions while those in the Sikhphilosophy rely on others and obey the decisions made by elders.
TheAmerican culture is not strict as it allows individuals to wearwhatever they like. On the contrary, the Sikh society has very strictcustoms on the dress code for both men and women. In the past, meneither wore a traditional dress known as Punjabi Kurta or Tehmat butnowadays the culture has adopted the use of Kurta as the officialattire for men (Campbell & Kean, 2013). The Punjabi Salwar Suitand the Patiala Salwar, which are both formal attires have replacedthe traditional dress for women, which previously was the PunjabiGhagra. Ideally, it is an offense to wear clothes that either showstoo much skin or are too tight in the Sikh community.
Shiftingfocus on the aspect of religion, the Sikh Punjab culture practices areligion known as Sikhism, whereas Americans practice Christianity.Furthermore, in the U.S. while Christianity is the main religion,people belong to different denominations. Also, other faiths such asIslam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism are well represented in thecountry. Contrastingly, in the Sikh culture, Sikhism is the majorreligion and it is difficult to find other minority faiths in theconviction. However, in the wider Indian culture, other minorityreligious can be found.
Accordingly,Bhangra is the primary type of musical art that the Sikh Punjabculture listens to (Jagraj, 2009). The music is gender neutral in thesense that men can also listen to romantic songs. However, theAmerican culture enjoys a wide variety of genres for instance blues,hip-hop and rock music. As per the culture, romantic songs like theblues category is for the women while hip-hop and rock are viewed asmasculine preferences.
Punjabiis the main language that people of the Sikh culture use while theAmerican society uses the English language. Many people considerPunjabi an Indo-Aryan language because it came about following theinteraction of the Indians and the Aryans (Soudar & Fee, 2013).On the same note, Sikh borrows its literature from Punjabi poetry,but the literature in America gains its influence from the work ofpeople such as Shakespeare who have had an enormous impact on theculture.
Inas much as both societies marry with their own, the marriageceremonies are different. To be precise, the Sikhs often conductmarriage ceremonies as per the traditional manner in a bid to promotethe culture (Campbell & Kean, 2013). Since the American societydoes not have rituals that have evolved through time, the weddingceremonies follow the religious practices. Moreover, in maritalmatters each community has varied perspectives. For instance, manyAmericans usually marry from diverse groups while the Sikh cannotmarry an individual who is not Punjabi. According to Soudar & Fee(2013), parents arrange most of the marriages in Sikh society byselecting proper brides and grooms for their children with thepermission of the children. The selection has to be within the samecaste group. The status system does not exist in the Americancultures. Ideally, the parents will pick a marriage partner for theirchildren from a wealthy family for purposes of earning profits. Onthe other hand, marriages in the American context come about due tolove (Jagraj, 2009). Society has a fundamental role in the life ofthe Sikh hence all the decisions people make are a reflection of thenorms of the society.
Inthe American culture, society is not as essential as individuality.As such, people make decisions based on personal desires, not whatthe general community thinks. The Sikhs observe the social structureof the culture strictly, and the person at the top of the hierarchyalways makes the final decision whether right or wrong (Campbell &Kean, 2013). In the American society, people have a lot of freedom,which makes it easy for any individual to challenge the authority anddemand for an ethical decision. In the American society, it isacceptable for young ones to address older people by their firstnames. The Sikh Punjab culture considers the act to be rude innature. Youngsters have to address older people by their titles, forinstance, Aunt or Uncle. Using first names to elders is a thing thatthe Sikh culture is regarded as disrespectful. When it comes to thecuisines, Sikh culture loves flavors and therefore, the food has alot of spices. Soudar & Fee argued that the culture places a lotof emphasis on eating lunch (2013). The American culture does notspicy food as much, but instead it loves meat. In essence, most ofthe American dishes will comprise of meat and the emphasis of theculture focuses on having dinner.
Generally,the American culture highly appreciates the time and its value asillustrated by the statement that time is money. As such, Americanstry to make everyday effort count by even working for long hours.People in the Sikh Punjab culture do not have any emphasis on time.Change is a significant element that differentiates both cultures(Jagraj, 2009). The American society has a positive view of changeand regards it as an essential value that indicates improvement andgrowth of individuals. Consequently, most Americans love migratingand changing their lifestyles. The Sikh Punjab culture looks at thechange in a negative way. They do not like to relocate or modifylifestyles, rather they prefer to remain stable and love to maintaina status quo. The Sikh culture operates under the mindset that Godhas control over their future. Campbell & Kean demonstrated thatthe plans of the Sikh are usually short term (2013). Americans,however, hold a different opinion as they believe that they cancontrol the future of the nation and therefore pay a lot of attentionto making plans. The plans are long term and always concentrate onthe foreseeable future. It is worth noting that the thinking processof the American culture seeks to dominate nature.
TheAmerican and the Sikh cultures have similarities but they are highlydifferent. There is a lot to learn from the cultural backgrounds ofboth societies. Given the impact of globalization, it is necessaryfor both cultures to evaluate their flaws and improve on such areasby following the example set by the other. For instance, the Americansociety should learn the importance of keeping close contact withtheir family from the Sikh civilization. Similarly, the Sikh Punjabought to absorb the need to fight for rights and freedoms of women, afactor that will improve the welfare of the society. Thus, the twocultures have comparable and contrasting values that can benefit notonly the discussed countries but also the entire globe.
Campbell,N., & Kean, A. (2013). AmericanCultural Studies: An Introduction to American Culture.New York: Routledge Publishers.
Jagraj,S. (2009). Acomplete guide to Sikhism.Chandigarh, India: Unistar Books Publishers.
Soudar,C., & Fee, W. (2013). Gatewayto Indian Culture.India: Asiapac Books Publishers.