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Common Memes between Tribes

August 11, 2010 2 min read

To see the populations of India and China as ‘tribes’, one would certainly require  the consumption of certain mind-expanding agents – but for the sake of hypothetical discussion let us assume that these are indeed tribes…

Finding commonality between these two ‘tribes’ separated by oceans of gene pools seems unlikely. But neither these oceans, nor the great Himalayan mountains have been able to stop the transmission of memes between these tribes.

(Memes are the various manifestations of living life – or behavior codes pertaining to various aspects of life. Approximately)

Two days ago, the Chinese observed the start of the Hungry Ghost Month. In this month, all the ancestors are offered remembered through simple ceremonies. It is believed that the spirits or ghosts of teir dead will visit during this month. Food of their liking is laid outdoors for their spirits to come and collect and paper money (fake) is burnt. In this month, no weddings take place and no large deals are struck as it is considered inauspicious.

The remarkable thing is that the other tribe – the Indians have a month almost identical to this one – called ‘Shraadh’. If the relative passes away on the 5th day of any lunar month, then the shraadh ceremony for him is held on the 5th day of the shraadh month. Again, his favorite food is prepared and kept outdoors, in the hope that he will visit the family as a bird and enjoy a meal with the family.  Again in this month, no weddings take place and no large deals are struck as it is considered inauspicious….The only difference is that the timing of this month differs from that in the Chinese lunar calendar.

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Another example:

The lantern festival in China : Amazing crafted large and small lanterns adorn every home and city during this festival that lasts a week.

The Diwali festival in India: Small and big lanterns adorn every home and city during this festival that lasts a week.

Again there is a time lag but the dates of both are determined by the lunar calendar. Maybe memes lose track of time at high altitude and the dates wents awry as the memes travelled across the Himalayas.

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One more example:

The Kite Flying festival in China celebrated in Spring is a popular folk festival.

The Kite Flying festival – Utaraayan- celebrated in Western India  in spring is a popular folk festival.

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A last example:

Indian brides must wear red at their weddings.

Chinese brides must wear red at their weddings.

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Typing these notes feels like repetition…maybe I should have used ‘copy-paste’ just like the tribes did with their memes?

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