Culture refers to the pattern of human activity and the symbols which give significance to this activity. Culture is represented through the art, literature, costumes, customs, and traditions of a community. Different cultures exist in different parts of the world. The natural environment greatly affects the lifestyle of the people in that region, thus shaping their culture. The diversity in the cultures around the world is also a result of the mindsets of people inhabiting different regions of the world. Why is culture important? Let us try to find out.
The cultural values of a community give it an identity of its own. A community gains a character and a personality of its own, because of the culture of its people. Culture is shared by the members of a community. It is learned and passed from the older generations to the newer ones. For an effective transfer of culture from one generation to another, it has to be translated into symbols. Language, art, and religion serve as the symbolic means of transfer of cultural values between generations.
Culture is a bond that ties the people of a region or community together. It is that one common bond, which brings the people of a community together. The customs and traditions that the people of a community follow, the festivals they celebrate, the kind of clothing they wear, the food they eat, and most importantly, the cultural values they adhere to, bind them together. The cultural values help develop a sense of belonging, and a feeling of unity in the minds of the people of that particular culture. People of a culture share their traditions and to a certain extent, their ideologies. They have a similar way of thinking and living. If they belong to the same religion, their belief system is the same, which further leads to a feeling of oneness among them.
Culture is seen as a system of social control, wherein people shape their standards and behavior. The cultural values form the founding principles of one's life. They influence one's principles and philosophy of living. They impact our way of living and thus affect our social life.
The cultural heritage of a society includes the way it is socially and politically organized. It also involves the mythological and philosophical concepts of that society and its science and literature. When the term is used in its adjective form as 'cultured', it is used to mean the degree of sophistication in the manners and education of the people who belong to that culture.
The importance of culture lies in the fact that it is a link between people and their value systems.