What Are Some Cultural Taboos of India?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 6, 2020 3:15:13 PM ET

Many cultural taboos in India have to do with touching objects or people. The ears are considered sacred, so boxing or pulling the ears is a serious insult.

Other Indian taboos concern the behavior of the sexes with each other and common habits.

  • Shaking hands with a member of the opposite sex unless they offer to do so first.
  • Walking on books or papers, considered sacred to the goddess of learning
  • Public displays of affection or any outwardly sexual behavior
  • Winking or whistling
  • Smoking or drinking in public
  • Killing an animal, especially a cow, which is considered sacred
  • Using the same hand to take food from a common plate or dish and eating as saliva is considered unclean