Friday, June 7, 2013

Nischala's Blog-o-Q : Why leave your footwear at the front door?

One of the common everyday practices followed by many South Indian homes is that of leaving your footwear at the front door.. It is also followed in several other Asian cultures - For e.g.: Japan, Korea, China, etc.

I never questioned the practice or reasons for it, till I traveled to other parts of India / the world, and observed that people entered their homes with the same footwear that they'd wear outside. And to most people it was perfectly OK. I guess it depends on how you were raised, and what practices where followed by your family.

But I was curious to understand Why? As I did some thinking and research, here are some answers
* Hygiene and Cleanliness - Basic and simple. It is not hard to imagine the many unwanted / dirty / harmful things that attach themselves to the bottom of your shoes. Dirt, Chemicals, germs, etc . . . there’s a lot of stuff on the streets. If you wear your shoes directly into the house, you’ll be bringing unwanted and unpleasant guests into your house. Not only does this dirt and dust, make your house dirty - But it can also be the cause of minor health ailments / diseases.
* Shoe removal is a wonderful way of leaving the outside world at the entrance of your home. Taking off your shoes / footwear can denote really and symbolically the transition from the "outside world" to the "world within your home".
* Religious reasons - According to one school of thought, your home should be treated with the same purity as any religious place of worship (For e.g.: a temple) and hence it is important to leave your footwear at the entrance - as a mark of respect for your house and the inhabitants.

Is there any other reason? Leave a comment to let me know

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