So what does the word culture means?
Culture is the sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people that are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation. https://www.tamu.edu/faculty/choudhury/culture.html
Is every culture on earth the same?
No, they are not the same. Different cultural groups think, feel, and act differently. There is a large group that identifies everyone, and it’s important to remember that within that large group, there are subgroups that have their own special cultural identifications. In the U.S. for example, citizens identify themselves as Americans but there are different groups of people with their own “cultural markers” who are Americans, and create this American culture.
So what makes my culture different from yours?
Cultural differences manifest themselves in different ways and differing levels of depth. Symbols represent the most superficial and value the deepest manifestations of culture, with heroes and rituals in between.
- Symbols are words, gestures, pictures, or objects that carry a particular meaning, which is only recognized by those, who share a particular culture. New symbols easily develop, old ones disappear. Symbols from one particular group, are regularly copied by others. This is why symbols represent the outermost layer of a culture.
- Heroes are persons, past or present, real or fictitious, who possess characteristics that are highly prized in a culture. They also serve as models for behavior.
- Rituals are collective activities, sometimes superfluous in reaching desired objectives, but are considered as socially essential. They are therefore carried out most of the times for their own sake (ways of greetings, paying respect to others, religious and social ceremonies, etc.).
- The core of a culture is formed by values (practices). They are broad tendencies for preferences of certain state of affairs to others (good-evil, right-wrong, natural-unnatural). Many values remain unconscious to those who hold them. Therefore they often cannot be discussed, nor can others directly observe them. Values can only be inferred from the way people act under different circumstances.
- Symbols, heroes, and rituals are the tangible or visual aspects of the practices of a culture. The true cultural meaning of the practices is intangible, and is revealed only when the insiders interpret the practices.
Think about the cultural group you belong to. What are the symbols, heroes, ritual, and values that identify your cultural group? Do some research and share your findings with others.