Culture is a broad umbrella term that encompasses the existing social behaviors and traditions found in all human societies, and the common understanding, beliefs, arts, sciences, habits, and talents of the people in those societies. It is the shared practices and beliefs that govern the actions of all the members of a society, regardless of their physical locations, race, or gender. The extent to which culture can be defined relies highly on the definitions used by different scholars. In most cases, however, the definition of culture has been widened to incorporate non-linguistic or even multilingual cultures. This type of culture is sometimes referred to as global culture or global civilization. Examples of such localized cultures include cultures of indigenous farmers in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Alaska, or cultures that are influenced by European medieval history, or cultures influenced by African and Asian art styles.
All cultures share some common characteristics, though they differ in significant ways that define who are members of each culture and how those cultures relate to the rest of the world. There is one thing all cultures have in common though, and that is to experience their culture as a whole that involves a group of people who share a common experience, and who, in doing so, share a set of beliefs and practices. For example, while all cultures believe in and value respect for life, this belief is often individualized by the culture of the society in which a person lives. In other words, respect for life is one thing, but it may also be something like respect for a certain race or a certain culture, or it may involve an interest in preserving things that are seen as sacred by the group in question. For example, while all societies value beauty in its many forms, there are still many who believe that beauty is something that must be preserved in all its forms.
Within every culture, however, there are always differences in the beliefs, practices, and values that produce the richness of culture. These differences help to define the culture of each society and help to explain why two persons from two different cultures can hold vastly different views of the same things and believe differently about them. To understand the culture, you must look at each culture as having a unique set of beliefs and values and then try to understand these things in the context of your own cultural identity. This way, you will be able to see your own cultural identity reflected back to you in the way that your cultural identity is understood by others.
One of the most basic aspects of culture is behavioral culture. Behavioral culture refers to the beliefs and actions that each culture believes is important. People who live in very traditional cultures, for instance, may be expected to speak only by using proper grammar and a set of phrases. They may also be expected to behave according to the prescribed rules of their culture, and are rarely if ever expected to deviate from these rules.
Conversely, people living in modern society in Africa are more likely to accept cultural differences and explore them. They are less likely to follow social roles based on gender or tribe, and they are more likely to be assertive when it comes to gender issues such as sexual conduct. Because of this, a direct comparison between African and western culture and behavior would probably seem like the complete opposite of what has taken place. However, even within a single culture, such as Africa, there can be significant cultural differences due to the variation in society and family structure.
Then, you have ritual culture. Rituals are generally considered to be very important aspects of any culture. In most cases, rituals are intended to honor or teach basic lessons, but they can also serve as ways for members of a culture to differentiate between permissible and unacceptable behaviors. Rituals can include the distinctions between holidays and other special occasions, as well as the various forms of dress worn by members of a culture. Different holidays or special occasions can mark the passage of a long tradition, and in some instances, a culture’s entire social and cultural life can revolve around the rites that mark these significant events.