Cultural Traditions Upheld

Stephanie Herr ’17

To much of my surprise, when I walked through M Maketplace on our first day in Delhi I saw chili peppers hanging outside one of the local storefronts (pictured below). The significance of this in the Indian culture was explained to me by Professor Anupama as a marker that kept evil spirits and energy out of stores. By doing so, good energy would come to shop owners and it would allow for business to flourish.


I have only ever known of hanging chili peppers and red corn outside of a home before seeing them in the marketplace. In the Hmong culture this symbolized keeping out evil spirits and energy from entering the home. It was refreshing to see chili peppers being used as a marker to keep out evil spirits and energy across different cultures but for the same reasons.


On our last day in India, we went to DLF Emporio, which is a luxury mall in Delhi carrying brands such as Burberry, Jimmy Choo, and Anita Dongre. This was the last place I would expect to see upholding the cultural tradition of placing chili peppers at the storefront to ward off evil spirits and energy. But it was here at a high-end Indian clothing store named Ashish N Soni that I also saw the placing of chili peppers at the storefront (pictured below). I took a moment to stop and appreciate the fact that this high-end Indian clothing store housed in a building with other high-end international and domestic brands still stayed true to its Indian roots. The fact that this store could have omitted the use of the chili peppers at the storefront, but still hung them up made me think of how authentic this marker was to the brand itself. Walking throughout the luxury mall, I did not see any of the other high-end Indian clothing stores hanging chili peppers at their storefronts to ward off bad spirits and energy.



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